The 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs have featured very evenly matched teams in the second round. The final teams to play a game four in this year’s semi’s were the Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Boston Bruins. The Bruins were looking to follow suit of the other series by tying this one at 2-2. Tampa, however, was looking to try to finish this one early to get some well-needed rest in preparation for the Pittsburgh Penguins, or the Washington Capitals. As a result, this was a close game, so close, in fact, we needed extra time to decide a winner in this bout.
The first period was a tale of two halves. The Lightning dominated the first half of the period scoring two in the opening half of the period. The first one came only four and a half minutes into the game as Brayden Point would dance around two Boston defenceman and bury his own rebound behind Tuukka Rask.
The Bruins would run into a spell of penalty trouble and would pay for it mid-way through the period. Nikita Kucherov would get a one-time opportunity on Rask’s left side and he’d bury it short side over the shoulder for the 2-0 lead.
At this point, Tampa ran into penalty trouble of their own and this would let Boston right back into the game. at the fifteen minute mark of the first, it would be David Pastrnak who would draw the Bruins within a goal. He would find the puck on a bad rebound by Andrei Vasilevskiy and put it in the wide-open net cutting the lead to 2-1. The Lightning outshot the Bruins 11-9 in the frame and took a 2-1 lead into the second… Where things would start to turn around.
It would take only three minutes for the Bruins to tie the game as Patrice Bergeron would be the recipient of a tic-tac-toe play that he’d bury behind Vasilevskiy for the 2-2 tie. That powerplay marker would be the only tally of the second despite Boston outshooting Tampa 14-4 in the period, but they’d strike again in the third.
It would be Bergeron again, this time on a shorthanded deflected slap pass from Marchand making it a 3-2 Boston lead. Having surrendered three unanswered goals to the Bruins, Tampa found their legs again and would tie the game at 3-3 late in the third. Steven Stamkos would bury a one-timer over Rask’s left shoulder, his first even-strength goal since March 3rd. The Lightning would outshoot Boston in the third 11-7 and would send game four into overtime!