Tampa Bay Lightning
Bolts Lose To Bruins Despite Stamkos' 20th Goal
BOSTON - Any time the Lightning visit Boston, it's anything but a tea party for Tampa Bay. But there was one moment to celebrate in Tuesday's 3-1 loss to the East-leading Bruins as Steven Stamkos became the second rookie in franchise history to reach the 20-goal mark. He needs one goal in the final five games to tie Brad Richards' franchise record for goals by a rookie. The loss was Tampa Bay's seventh in eight games, including overtime, and dropped its all-time record in Boston to 3-19-9. "It's been kind of the same old thing. We are just not really winning battles, and that's the tough part when you are watching things," Lightning interim coach Rick Tocchet said. "But we tried to come back and hung in there a little bit."After Blake Wheeler put the Bruins up 1-0 in the first period, backhanding in a rebound from Marc Savard, Boston increased its lead to 3-0 with a pair of power-play goals. The first was by Zdeno Chara at 6:56, followed by Chuck Kobesew - who had his stick knocked out of his hands on a Chara shot for a deflection goal - with 6:25 left in the period. "I've seen it all this year. We could do a David Letterman Top 10 list with everything that we have seen this year and that would probably come in at No. 5," Tocchet said of the Kobesew goal. The Bolts have allowed multiple power-play goals in three consecutive games. Stamkos scored Tampa Bay's lone goal at the 12:07 mark of the third period, finding a loose puck at the top of the crease and lifting it over Manny Fernandez. The goal ended a scoreless drought of 129 minutes, 8 seconds for the Lightning, who were shut out Sunday against Ottawa. "It's kind of a bittersweet thing," Stamkos said of scoring his 20th in the loss. "You get tired of losing game in and game out, but it's something you have to learn from and remember the feeling. ... "Scoring 20 goals was a goal of mine once I started to play well and get out there. From a personal standpoint, it's a pretty good accomplishment, but you would trade that in for the chance to compete for a playoff spot." Though Tocchet said he has seen Stamkos' play dip a bit in recent games, reaching a milestone such as 20 goals is an accomplishment considering the way the season started for the overall No. 1 pick. "It's good for him," he said. "He has to continue to play harder, but it's nice for him to score 20." MASTERTON NOMINEE The Tampa Bay chapter of the Professional Hockey Writer's Association nominated defenseman Cory Murphy for the Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded each year to the NHL player who "best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey." Undrafted out of Colgate University, Murphy spent seven years playing in Europe before earning his first NHL contract with Florida before the 2007-08 season. But shoulder injuries limited his playing time with the Panthers. He was placed on waivers by Florida twice this season before Tampa Bay claimed him on re-entry waivers in January. By March, Murphy was logging 25 minutes a night and quarterbacking the power play until a broken foot sidelined him. The league has announced the Northeast and Atlantic nominees and will release those from the Southeast Division today. The Masterton Trophy winner will be announced at the NHL Awards show in Las Vegas on June 18.
Reporter Erik Erlendsson can be reached at (813) 259-7835.