Boston Bruins

Boston Bruins

Nov 20, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Jonas Johansson (31) and his teammates celebrate after they defeat the Boston Bruins during overtime at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins were mere seconds away from stealing a road win from a top division rival. But the Tampa Bay Lightning ended up stealing the victory right back from them, in crushing fashion.

Steven Stamkos tied the game 4-4 with just 4.8 seconds left in regulation, then Brandon Hagel scored the game-winning goal in overtime, as the Lightning pulled off a late 5-4 comeback win for two points at Amalie Arena. The Bruins fell to 13-1-3 on the season with the loss.

Stamkos’ game-tying goal came soon after the Bruins’ Pavel Zacha couldn’t clear the puck out of the zone with precious seconds ticking away. Nikita Kucherov fed Stamkos cross-ice and Stamkos did the rest, ripping a one-timer past Bruins goaltender Jeremy Swayman. Hagel then beat Swayman in overtime off a 2-on-0 rush.

In all, Swayman stopped 42-of-47 Tampa Bay shots, coming close to helping the B’s rob the W.

Tampa Bay drew first blood in this one, off the stick of Tanner Jeannot. First, Lightning forward Tyler Motte managed to sneak through Charlie McAvoy and Mason Lohrei and crash the net on Swayman, then Jeannot got just enough on the puck to knock the rebound up and over Swayman’s pad for the goal to put Tampa up 1-0.

  • Tampa’s initial lead was short-lived, as the Bruins found an answer just over three minutes later in the first period.

    The play started with Brad Marchand intercepting a breakout attempt and feeding the puck right to a wide-open David Pastrnak curling toward the net, taking advantage of an epic defensive breakdown by the Lightning. But Pastrnak surprised just about everybody when instead of shooting, he slipped the puck back behind himself to a waiting Zacha, who redirected it in for his seventh goal of the season.

  • Near the end of the first period, McAvoy delivered a thunderous check to Jeannot that went right into heavy rotation on the social media highlight reels. The hit was extra-notable because McAvoy recently returned from a four-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head.

    Unlike that incident, this hit by McAvoy was clean through Jeannot’s shoulder and chest. But just really, really hard:

  • Almost the entire second period went by without another goal, but the Lightning struck late. Unfortunately for the Bruins, the next score came as they were trying to kill off a penalty – which probably shouldn’t have resulted in a PK in the first place. Curiously, Pastrnak was the only Bruin to head to the box after a brief scuffle with Hagel, in a situation that seemed like an easy call for matching roughing calls against both of them.

    The B’s couldn’t keep the Lightning off the board during the ensuing power play, as Nicholas Paul got a piece of Mikhail Sergachev’s point shot for the tip-in and a 2-1 lead for Tampa with just 30 seconds left in the second.

  • The third period started inauspiciously for the Bruins, as the Lightning grabbed the first five shots of the period. But it was the B’s who would light the lamp first – and second – in the final 20 minutes.

    First, Pastrnak fired home the equalizer from the high slot, as he simply floated back to open space, received the pass from Lohrei, and let it rip as hard as he could. The goal tied the game 2-2, temporarily demoralizing Tampa Bay after they’d come up empty in an early barrage.

  • Adding to the pain for the Lightning was Bruins rookie Johnny Beecher, who caught the defense off-guard and corralled a quick pass from Danton Heinen before burying his own scoring chance. The goal gave the B’s their first lead of the night.

  • However, this Bruins lead lasted just 57 seconds, as Austin Watson finished a one-timer from Anthony Cirelli. The Bruins had too many defenders watching the puck, losing Watson in coverage and giving Cirelli an easy lane to him for the goal.

    For a few minutes, it appeared that Charlie Coyle was going to be the hero for the Bruins. Finishing a strong, gritty net-front feed from James van Riemsdyk, Coyle buried his sixth goal of the season to put the Bruins up 4-3. He’s on pace for 29 goals and 72 points, both of which would be career-highs.

  • But the night would end with a Bruins breakdown, and the heartbreak sent entirely back their way. After Zacha’s failed clearing attempt, Stamkos tied it with just 4.8 seconds left in regulation with a rocket of a one-timer.

  • And that set the stage for overtime, when Hagel finished the game-winner and a last-second comeback victory for the Lightning. The Bruins were left wondering what went wrong with mere seconds to go until they grabbed two points in what would’ve been a heist of a victory.

    Up Next: The Bruins will stay in Florida for one more game, as they head to Sunrise for a Wednesday night clash with the playoff nemesis Florida Panthers.

    Click here for complete Boston Bruins coverage at 985TheSportsHub.com.

    Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Check out all of Matt’s content here.

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