Sun, May 06, 2018 - Page 11 News List

Lightning win in OT to extend lead

TAKES A LICKIN’:Boston’s Brad Marchand tried to lick Ryan Callahan’s face, which the Tampa Bay wing said the league should look into and penalize like spitting

AP, BOSTON

The Boston Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron, right, challenges the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Tyler Johnson for the puck in the first period of Game 4 of their NHL Eastern Conference semi-final series at TD Garden in Boston on Friday.

Photo: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY

The Tampa Bay Lightning have a chance to get the last licks on the Boston Bruins at home.

Dan Girardi on Friday night scored 3 minutes, 18 seconds into overtime to give Tampa Bay a 4-3 victory over Boston in a game that featured more face-licking from Brad Marchand, but left the Lightning with a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semi-finals as they return to Florida for a potential clincher in Game 5.

“It’s going to be the hardest game of the series, and it always is,” said Tampa Bay wing Ryan Callahan, who was swabbed by Marchand’s tongue in the second period — the second straight opponent to complain about the tactic by the Bruins’ forward.

“It’s unfortunate that he goes that low to do that, but doesn’t take us off our game,” Callahan said. “Hopefully, the league looks at it. I don’t know if there is discipline for spitting in someone’s face, but to me it’s worse if not the same.”

Tampa Bay jumped ahead 2-0 for the second straight game, but this time Boston answered with three straight goals, including a short-handed score by Patrice Bergeron — his second of the game — to break a third-period tie.

Steven Stamkos tied it 3-3 with seven minutes left in regulation after Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy turned the puck over behind the Boston net after he appeared to be pulled down from behind. Girardi ended it when he got a stick on a pass from Alex Killorn that was deflected off Brian Gionta’s skate in the crease.

A two-time NHL goal-scoring champion, Stamkos had just one goal in the playoffs before adding an empty-netter in Game 3.

“It was like Stam said: ‘I’ve had enough,’” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “It was just a matter of time, but we needed him, and he was there for us.”

Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov also scored for the Lightning, while Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves. Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots for the Bruins.

Torey Krug, who was helped off the bench to the locker room in the third period and did not finish the game, had a pair of assists, as did Marchand.

However, Marchand — whose nickname “Little Ball of Hate” even made its way to then-US president Barack Obama when the Bruins visited the White House after their 2011 Stanley Cup win — was the talk of the post-game more for his penchant for licking opponents.

Marchand went nose-to-nose with Callahan after a whistle with 1 minutes, 21 seconds left in the second, then leaned in and tried to lick Callahan’s face. The Lightning forward pushed him away.

“He punched me four times in the face,” Marchand said. “He just kept getting close. Nothing big.”

The Toronto Maple Leafs also complained about the tactic during their first-round series with Boston.

Told that Callahan compared licking to spitting and said it should be penalized accordingly, Marchand said: “That’s cute. Good for him.”

Two nights after scoring twice in the first 3 minutes, 19 seconds for a lead they would never relinquish, the Lightning again opened a 2-0 lead. Point scored about five minutes in when he split defenders Zdeno Chara and McAvoy at the blue line and then faked out Rask in the crease.

With the Bruins already a man down, Chara then backhanded the puck over the glass on a clearing attempt for another penalty. It was back to five-on-four when Kucherov made it 2-0 midway through the period on a power-play one-timer from the face-off circle.

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