Brayden Point had an empty-net goal and three assists, and the Tampa Bay Lightning found a way to slow Boston’s high-scoring line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand and beat the Bruins, 4-2, in Game 2 of their second-round Eastern Conference playoff series on Monday night.
The victory evened the matchup between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference at a game apiece. Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday night in Boston.
Point assisted on Tampa Bay’s first three goals before sealing the win with his empty-netter with 25.2 seconds left.
Yanni Gourde, Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat also scored for the Lightning, who rebounded from a 6-2 loss in Game 1.
Bergeron, Pastrnak and Marchand combined for three goals and 11 points in the opener. They had four more points in Game 2 but were unable to take over the game.
Charlie McAvoy scored for the Bruins late in the first period. Torey Krug’s late goal trimmed Tampa Bay’s lead to 3-2 with just over four minutes remaining.
Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 18 shots. Tuukka Rask finished with 27 saves for Boston.
The Lightning had nearly twice as many scoring opportunities as the Bruins in the series opener and controlled play early on Monday, getting off the first 10 shots of the game and taking a 1-0 lead on Gourde’s power-play goal at 11 minutes 47 seconds of the first period.
With the exception of failing to taking advantage of a long five-on-three power play, the Bruins made the most of limited chances, with the Bergeron line leading the way.
McAvoy’s goal, with Bergeron and Marchand assisting, made it 1-1. Pastrnak and Marchand set up Krug’s goal, keeping the Bruins close.
The Bergeron line has 12 goals and 41 points in Boston’s five playoff victories. The four assists Monday night are the only points the trio has delivered in four losses.
“We need to defend better,” he said. “Part of that is intensity, urgency, pick your word, we didn’t have it. You’ve got to manage the puck first, and then once you don’t have it anymore, you’ve got to have a certain level of structure and urgency to get it back, and we didn’t.”
It resulted in forced plays, in slow transitions, in turnovers. And that turned into hockey that was undisciplined, ragged and out of control.
The Bruins got back into the game in the second period, when Bergeron scored on the power play at 14:12 to cut the lead to 2-1, and had chances to tie it but were thwarted by goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay’s defense and their own misplays.
“I think we looked slower than them,” Cassidy said. “They are a fast team, so we expect them to play fast. I just think we’re not supporting each other quick enough and then making the appropriate play with the puck to appear faster. It seems like it’s getting turned over and coming back at us. All of a sudden you’re chasing it all the time.”