With less than 24 hours until the NHL trade deadline the Boston Bruins still had some on ice work to do against the Tampa Bay Lightning.  Instead it turned into them getting worked over like an AHL team as the Lightning took it to the B’s to the tune of a 4-1 beating.  Ryan Callahan popped 2 goals, while Steven Stamkos extended his goal scoring streak to 6 straight games.  Although Tuukka Rask put up poor numbers statistically, he was hung out to dry by the team in front him all night.  He faced a penalty shot by Stamkos, two lethal power play strikes, and a 2-on-none breakaway from the opposite blue line.

The always offensively potent Kevan Miller scored for the Bruins.

Here are BostonPucks.com 3 Thoughts from tonight:

1)  Bruins Play Confirms Loui Needs To Go Before Deadline

I’ve said it a million times, I’m the president of the New England chapter of the Loui Eriksson fan club.  Always been in his corner.  But tonight just confirmed that no matter how deep my man crush runs for #21, for the greater good of the franchise Don Sweeney needs to move Loui by 3pm Monday for the biggest haul he can get to help the overall makeup of this team.  

If he can’t land the defenseman he wants he should still take the best package of picks available with a top prospect and move him.  It may take until summer but Sweeney can then flip some combination of the picks in return for Loui for the top defenseman he covets.  All night long the Chara/McQuaid combo was just too slow against Stammer, Callahan, and Killorn.  They were getting torched.

As much as I love Loui for his skill, personality, and being able to play in every situation, him getting a 5-6 year deal with this current club for $30+ million is not the right move.  Take a little pressure off the offense and go get the blue liner this club desperately needs even if it sucks to see Loui continuing to roll elsewhere.

2)  Tampa Getting Hot At Right Time

Ever since Steve Yzerman came out and said he would not be trading Steven Stamkos before the deadline, with the goal of resigning him before July 1st, it seems things have calmed down in Tampa Bay.  Stamkos extended his goal scoring streak tonight to 6 games with a masterful deke on a penalty shot.  He also rang iron on a short handed snipe attempt in the 3rd period that froze Tuukka.  It’s no surprise that Stamkos’ hot streak has coincided with an identical Lightning 6-game winning streak as well.  The team as a whole has racked up 26 goals during that stretch equaling nearly 5 a game.

It was a slow start to the season for the Lightning and I have to imagine the drama with #91 didn’t help things.  You also have to factor in how tough it is for teams who go deep in the previous playoff and lose to rebound quickly the next season.  The Anaheim Ducks are another great example of that this season.  Sometimes it just takes longer to get back into second and third gear.  

If Tampa continues to roll as they have recently it certainly makes a potential Eastern Conference Final match-up with the Washington Capitals a whole lot more intriguing.

3)  Did Tonight Expose Anyone Else For Tomorrow’s Deadline?

I know #LouiWatch is getting all the press but I’m wondering if tonight has changed the bigger picture at all for the Bruins?  I figured at the deadline Sweeney would go in with the mindset of patch working a roster together for the playoffs.  In other words, buy and sell.  He wants (or so he says) to re-up Loui and if that were to happen I could see him packaging some picks/prospects/one of our d-men for a defensive upgrade as well.  But to me that still keeps the Bruins in neutral since Loui commands the biggest return.  And I can’t say I believe anything The Don said at his presser today.

So maybe after tonight’s poor showing against a divisional rival and potential first round opponent it’s shifted more from patching it together to instead straight sell mode.  If I were Jimmy Hayes I’d be nervous as hell tonight.  Same goes for Brett Connolly and take your pick of the young blue liners.  Again, I’m just guessing here so don’t go thinking these are trade rumors, I just think if the Bruins are going to move Loui since extension talks appear to be far apart then every other option should be seriously explored as well.

****Extras****

  • Special teams stood out tonight.  Boston’s hot and cold power play froze up, going 0-for-5.  Whereas the highly skilled Tampa crew went 2-for-3, taking only 0:38 seconds combined on their first two attempts to get the two goals.
  • Ben Bishop’s pads are the most obnoxious things I have ever seen on a goalie.  He will be the poster boy for the new goalie equipment size reduction that is needed much like Garth Snow was for his ridiculous chest protector back in the day.
  • Can’t wait until Stamkos re-signs in Tampa this summer.  It is going to be some high comedy in Toronto when that happens.

Check out our @BostonPucks twitter feed tomorrow for trade deadline nonsense.

R.I.P. Loui Eriksson.  You will be missed.