Bruins, Lightning both look for bounce back
BOSTON — Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper was asked about the play of goalie Ben Bishop after Friday night's 5-3 home loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
“We could have put Ben and (Andrei) Vasilevskiy in at the same time, and I don't think it would have made a difference,” Cooper said. “The goaltending had nothing to do with it. We play 82 games, chalk one up to a stinker.
“We got taught a lesson tonight by a team that worked way harder than us. … We were just rotten from start to finish.”
In Boston, the Bruins were dropping a 2-1 decision to the Calgary Flames on Friday night, their third straight loss and their fifth in nine home games.
“We had chances, and again, frustration right now sets in when you're not scoring and guys are squeezing their sticks and sometimes the simple plays becomes tougher plays so we've got to try and get over that hump,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien, whose team scored only two goals — both by David Pastrnak — in two nights.
On Sunday, two teams that should come out with something to prove, meet at TD Garden.
The Bruins scored a 4-3 shootout win at Tampa Bay on Nov. 3. Tuukka Rask, 10-5-1 with a 2.67 goals against average, a .901 save percentage and three shutouts (more than he has against any team) was in goal that night and will be again on Sunday.
Friday night, Boston had backup Anton Khudobin (0-3) in goal and fell to 0-6 when Rask doesn't play.
Vasilevsky made his first career start against the Bruins earlier this month, while Bishop is 4-4-3 with a 2.60 goals against average and .916 save percentage — no shutouts — against Boston.
“Our goalies have been our best players to start the season, so it's definitely not even close to being on (Bishop),” defenseman Jason Garrison said Friday. “We've got to play better in front of him.”
While the Lighting are again playing without their star and captain, Steven Stamkos, out long-term, the Bruins have dealt with the absence of their captain and leader, Zdeno Chara for the last two games because of a lower body injury. He is considered doubtful for Sunday's third game in four days for the Bruins.
The Lightning have lost two of their last three games but are 5-2 in their last seven, more than staying alive without Stamkos. They are 7-4 this season on the road.
The Bruins, who barely missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons, have fallen to 11-10 and scored only four goals in the three straight losses — two of them at home, where the Bruins just don't seem to have an advantage.
The losing streak came after what might have been the Bruins' best wire-to-wire game, last Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. Boston ran up a 38-12 shots advantage in that game.
Friday night, Boston had 17 straight shots over chunks of two periods, but veteran journeyman Chad Johnson continued his hot goaltending.
“We had many opportunities to score, too bad they didn't go in,” Pastrnak said. “Try to stick with it.”
Pastrnak has scored a goal in eight of his last 10 games, and has 12, six more than any teammate in 16 games this season.
“We have to put this together, and then we'll be fine,” he said.
Brad Marchand, whose interference penalty both created and wiped out a goal Friday, left practice early Saturday after being hit in the leg by a shot.
Patrice Bergeron had two points for the Bruins and Tyler Johnson two goals for the Lightning in the first meeting.