Jeremy Swayman deserved a better fate in Tampa on Monay night. The rest of the Bruins? Not so much.
Swayman made a season-high 41 saves, but the B’s allowed a 6-on-5 goal with less than five seconds left in regulation and, on a bad change, Brandon Hagel won it on a breakaway goal to lift the Lightning to a 5-4 win at Amalie Arena.
The B’s scored on three of the four shots they could muster in the third period and it looked like they would hold up.
Charlie Coyle scored the go-ahead goal with 3:51 left in regulation. From behind the Tampa net, James van Riemsdyk fed Coyle for a one-timer that gave the B’s a 4-3 lead.
But things got hairy after that. John Beecher took a high-sticking penalty with 2:20 left in regulation. The B’s killed that off and it appeared to have the game in hand but in the final seconds, Victor Hedman kept the puck in right at the blue line and Nikita Kucherov scored the tying goal with 4.8 seconds left to force overtime.
In OT, the B’s never controlled the puck before David Pastrnak changed while Tampa still possessed the puck and Hagel was sprung for the winner.
For the first time all season, coach Jim Montgomery decided to play one of his goals in consecutive games. In this case, it was Jeremy Swayman, who played Saturday against Montreal.
Fortunately for the Bruins, Swayman was on his game, because he was busy early, facing some high danger chances. He was pelted with 19 shots in the first period, only one of which got behind him – and he certainly could not have been faulted for it.
It was a back-and-forth first period, with the B’s getting plenty of chances themselves but giving up far too much. Rookie defenseman Mason Lohrei had allowed a couple Bolts to get behind him. One time, Nikita Kucherov was given a clean shot form the right circle but Swayman snared it his wrister effortlessly.
But Tampa got on the board on a funky play. This Tanner Jeannot got behind the defense on a partial breakaway. Charlie McAvoy was going to be called for holding, but Jeannot got a shot off. Swayman made the initial save then got bumped by Jeannot, allowing the puck to get past him at 6:39. The B’s might have had an argument for goalie interference but, with the possibility of facing a penalty shot, they did not challenge.
At the other end, the B’s were forcing turnovers and were eventually were rewarded with the tying goal at 8:55. Tampa defenseman Mikhail Sergachev sent a backhander up the left boards that was picked off by Brad Marchand, who slipped a pass down to David Pastrnak. Pastrnak circled in front of the net and had a great look but, as he dragged goalie Jonas Johansson with him, he made a brilliant pass back against the grain to Pavel Zacha for an open net. It was Zacha’s seventh of the season.
The second period was scoreless for the first 19:30, but the Bolts regained the lead in the final minute after the B’s shot themselves in the foot.
Swayman continued to make terrific stops. His best ones were on Brandon Hagel, first on a breakaway and then on a 4-on-3.
But the B’s were tempting fate. They survived an early 5-on-3 and started to get frustrated when they weren’t getting calls. Marchand was upset when he thought he was fouled on a scoring chance and Pastrnak believed he was hacked n a clean breakaway. While they were yapping a lot at the refs, what stung them was a late roughing penalty on Pastrnak.
On the power play, Nick Paul deflected home a Sergachev shot with 30 seconds left in the period and the B’s had their work cut out for them in the third.
But the B’s regained the lead with two goals in 1:21 in the third.
The B’s started poorly in the third, with the Bolts with contorl for much of the third, but when the B’s got their first chance, Pastrnak evened it up with long distance wrister at 6:24.
Then they took a 3-2 lead on John Beecher’s second goal of the year. Danton Heinen did a great job of holding the blue line and shoveling the puck back in. Beecher picked it up in space and wasted little time in snapping his own wrist shot past Johansson.
But Tampa clapped back with an equalizer just 57 seconds later when, after a failed clear by the B’s, Anthony Cirelli fed Austin Watson in front to even it up.