TAMPA (FOX 13) - The Tampa Bay Lightning boarded an airplane for Boston at noon Tuesday. They're feeling better about leaving town with the Round 2 series against the Boston Bruins tied 1-1.
"I think that 'feel good' for winning a game, you take that emotion into the next game, but each game has its own identity," said Lightning forward Chris Kunitz. "We can't rest on what we did the last game and hope that they just walk away. We know that they're a good team. We have to go out there and prove it again that we can beat them. Put it in their mind every single time that we go against them."
The Lightning feel they have a better feel for the Bruins. A team that has elevated its play since the regular season.
"No disrespect for the regular season," said Lightning head coach Jon Cooper. "You've got to make the playoffs, so everyone is trying to win, but with back to backs and 3 and 4's... Sometimes teams are tired and sometimes they're not. But in the playoffs, one thing everybody is on the same playing field and it's amplified tenfold."
In the first two games, the Bruins have done everything to get under the skin of the Lightning and some of the actions have left marks, including two stitches under the eye of Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman.
"It was my stick," said Hedman. "But it didn't hurt any less because of that. It's part of the game. It wasn't like I was trying to sell it. It hurt pretty bad, a couple of stitches."
Bruin's forward David Pastrnak received a 4-minute penalty for the high stick infraction and it's created quite a bit of chatter among fans and some NHL analyst.
The refs have been getting verbally beaten up in this black and blue series.
"If you're going to dissect the refs especially in the playoff time, you've got to feel for the stripes," said Cooper. "Because basically four people in the arena, everybody is booing against."
So this series has been reduced to the best of 5-games with Boston now holding home-ice advantage. Neither team can close it out during this trip to Boston. So the Lightning and Bruins will make at least one more trip back to Tampa this weekend.