Boston Bruins

No matter the time of year, the rivalry between the Bruins and Lightning is never one to disappoint.

That was especially true Thursday night at Amalie Arena, as the teams reignited their feud for the third time this season and with their most spirited bout yet. But in a hit-friendly affair, it was friendly fire that cost the Bruins two points, as a Brandon Carlo collision with Linus Ullmark opened the net up for a Victor Hedman game-winning goal with just under seven minutes remaining in what finished as a 3-2 victory for the Bolts.

With the win, Hedman and the Bolts ended what was a five-game Boston win streak over the Lightning dating back to last season, and put an end to what was a six-game win streak for the Bruins.

  • On the power play for the first time in the evening when a Brad Marchand attempted stick lift caught all Ian Cole and no stick, the Bolts jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 30 seconds into that power-play opportunity when Brandon Hagel found himself all alone in front of the 6-foot-5 Ullmark.

    The goal seemed to be a product of miscommunication from the Black and Gold’s four-man penalty kill, as Brandon Carlo vacated the front of the net to provide some support for Derek Forbort, which left Hagel all alone and with Charlie Coyle unable to get back in time to deny what was a perfect look for the Lightning wing.

  • Down by one through 20 minutes, the Bruins looked set to see their deficit double on ’em when Brayden Point had a breakaway on Ullmark, but Ullmark stood tall. Ullmark remained tall in the Boston crease and came through with another big-time stop on a beautiful power-play look from Steven Stamkos on a Tampa Bay power-play look just seconds after Point’s chance.

    It was enough to get you screaming for the Bruins to reward their netminder with some help.

    And with the sides at four-on-four, the Bruins put an absolute clinic in offensive-zone motion, and found the equalizer on a Brad Marchand rip through Andrei Vasilevskiy with 3:02 remaining in the second frame.

  • The Bruins and Bolts would trade goals in a 1:26 stretch in the third period — the Bruins matched a Nikita Kucherov bullet with a Pavel Zacha finish — and the slugfest was on.

    But the Bruins’ defensive-zone miscues continued to mount, and though they dodged danger a few times, it was the Carlo bump on Ullmark that proved to be too much to overcome on Hedman’s tally.

    The Bruins went down swinging, however, and even had a great last gasp (as far as last gasps go, anyway) with a David Pastrnak one-time bomb that went just wide with about five seconds remaining in the game.

    The finish was an issue for the Bruins throughout the night, and that’ll cost you against a goalie like Vasilevskiy, who finished with a 37-of-39 effort in the Tampa net.

    Ullmark, meanwhile, took the loss with a 32-of-35 performance that was in fact better than the box score would indicate. It was Ullmark’s first loss against the Bolts in four tries since coming to the Bruins in 2021, with Ullmark posting a .930 save percentage over those four outings.

  • TAMPA, FLORIDA - JANUARY 26: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins looks to pass in the first period during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on January 26, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images )

    TAMPA, FLORIDA – JANUARY 26: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins looks to pass in the first period during a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena on January 26, 2023 in Tampa, Florida. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

  • The big move for the Bruins in this game came with the promotion of Taylor Hall up to Boston’s top line.

    Together for 9:43 of five-on-five play, the Marchand-Bergeron-Hall line finished with a 45 corsi-for percentage (the Lightning held an 11-9 advantage with this line on the ice), but broke even in shots, at 6-6.

    The Bruins survived an injury scare in this one, too, as Charlie McAvoy departed down the tunnel with what looked like an ugly shoulder injury (and to the same shoulder he had surgery on last June) early in the third period. But McAvoy would return to the Boston bench and the game after a quick trip back to the room.

    The Bruins get back to work Saturday night against the Panthers.