Fri, May 04, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Lightning strike quickly to beat Bruins for series lead


The Tampa Bay Lightning’s Ondrej Palat, left, scores over the shoulder of the Boston Bruins’ Tuukka Rask in the first period of Game 3 of the NHL Eastern Conference semi-finals at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, on Wednesday.

Photo: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY

Between the birth of his first child in Tampa Bay and Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals in Boston, Yanni Gourde squeezed in what could be his last nap for a while.

The Tampa Bay Lightning forward spent the night with his wife and newborn daughter in the hospital on the off day and flew to Boston on Wednesday. He missed the morning skate, but was waiting for his teammates at lunch.

He received quite a greeting.

“It was like we scored a game-winning goal,” coach Jon Cooper said after Ondrej Palat scored twice and Gourde assisted on Tampa Bay’s third goal in a 4-1 victory over Boston that gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead in the series.

“It’s a team that cares,” Cooper said. “We were so happy for him.”

Palat scored twice in the first 3 minutes, 19 seconds of the game, while Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots to help Tampa Bay to their second win in a row since losing the series opener at home.

Game 4 is tonight.

“Boston came in and took one of our games at home, we had to take one of theirs on the road,” Cooper said. “We did that.”

After Patrice Bergeron made it a one-goal game, Anthony Cirelli scored his first career NHL playoff goal to give the Lightning a 3-1 lead late in the first.

Gourde provided an assist, chasing the puck into the zone before finding Cirelli in the slot.

“The last 24 hours have been amazing,” Gourde said. “Obviously, I wanted to be there for my wife and, I think, it ended up it was perfect.”

“Playoffs are desperate hockey,” Boston’s Charlie McAvoy said. “You don’t ever go into any games saying: ‘Oh, we have the luxury of being able to lose this one.’ That’s not how it goes.”

Palat scored just 1 minute, 47 seconds in after Boston defenseman Matt Grzelcyk settled the puck with his glove in his own end, then appeared to lose track of it and skated away, leaving the Lightning with an easy two-on-one opportunity.

Palat made it 2-0 just 92 seconds later on a shot that deflected off Bruins defenseman Torey Krug and into the net.

“It’s not good, obviously, but we’ve come back a lot,” said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy, whose team have won 21 games this season in which they gave up the first goal.

“So this is nothing new,” he said “You’ve still got 50-some minutes left. There’s going to be a lull from the crowd, but you’ve got to get it back... The second and third goals, to me, are much worse.”

It stayed 3-1 through the second period and most of the third, until the Lightning picked up a power play in the final two minutes of the game, when Krug tripped Cirelli as he chased after the puck with an empty net in front of him.

Tampa Bay made it 4-1 when Steven Stamkos found the empty net on the power play with 42 seconds left.

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