The Bruins' woes in the neutral zone and their own end spelled their undoing in game four, and at the beginning of the first period, it was as if nothing had changed.
A turnover at the Tampa blue line by David Krejci led to an early odd-man rush for Tampa, and Johnny Boychuk's inability to get in Simon Gagne's way gave the Lightning winger the game's opening tally on his team's first shot.
With Mike Smith starting in net for Tampa, the Bruins continued to struggle early to get good looks at the net.
After the two teams traded penalties, there was no change in score. The Bruins got great work from Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille to save Tyler Seguin's bacon after he tripped Dominic Moore, but Boston wasn't able to turn it into any momentum in the attacking zone.
The Milan Lucic - Krejci - Nathan Horton line continued its disappearing act, registering no shots and a combined minus-three in the opening 20 minutes.
After Andrew Ference went to the box for cross-checking Steven Stamkos on a partial breakaway, the Lightning still weren't able to capitalize on the man-advantage, but generated a lot of energy getting the puck low and passing in and out of the Boston defense.
The Bruins' legs, heart, heads and hands were all absent in the first period, which was shocking after the Black and Gold were embarrassed on Saturday afternoon.
When Smith lost his stick during a Bruins' possession late in the period, Krejci closed in on the vulnerable netminder and took Marc-Andre Bergeron off his skates with a high hit that was the first time the TD Garden crowd got to its feet.
The hit helped the Bruins generate some momentum in the closing minutes of the period, but a blatant interference penalty by Horton tipped the ice back in the Lightning's favor. The Bruins killed the first 50 seconds of the penalty, but they'll have another 1:10 to kill off to start the second, a period in which they need to reach back and find something or else they'll risk this being the last home game they play all year.
Tampa outshot the Bruins 14-4 in the period.