(Photo Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Costly Defensive Mistakes Doom Bruins In 4-1 Game 3 Loss to Lightning

Game 3 at TD Garden was not kind to the Boston Bruins, who seemingly couldn't get out of their own way in a sloppy, undisciplined 4-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday night. After dropping the first game of the series, Tampa now leads two games to one.

The Lightning were all over the Bruins early and often, generating 19 shots on goal in the first period - including a 10-1 advantage in "high-danger" scoring chances, according to Natural Stat Trick. Ondrej Palat made them pay just 1:47 into the game with his third goal of the series, as Tyler Johnson capitalized on a costly defensive zone turnover by Matt Grzelcyk and fed Palat the puck far-side to make it 1-0.

Palat scored again just 1:32 later for an early gut punch. This time, David Krejci got kicked out of the faceoff dot and the Bruins lost the draw, leading to a point shot by Victor Hedman that a gliding Palat deflected past Tuukka Rask to put the Lightning up 2-0.

Patrice Bergeron got the Bruins back in it with a power play goal, collecting a rebound in the slot and firing it past Andrei Vasilevskiy amid a pile of bodies in front. But the Lightning answered just 2:31 later, as Anthony Cirelli took a centering pass and fanned on the first shot, got stopped on the second, and finally buried it on the third - all within less than a second. Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller couldn't stop Cirelli's chances or clear the puck from the crease on the goal.

Steven Stamkos added an empty-netter with 41 seconds left in the third, his first point of the series.

After a scoreless second period in which the Lightning again out-shot the Bruins, 11-8, the B's and Lightning went a little more back-and-forth to start the third. But again, the Bruins couldn't cash in on the solid opportunities that they'd started to generate in the second frame. The Lightning ended up out-shooting the Bruins 37-29 on the night.

Up Next: The Bruins and Lightning square off in Game 4 on Friday night, as the B's look to avoid a devastating 3-1 hole heading back to Tampa for Game 5.