Final: Boston 4, Tampa Bay 2
Recap: By the time four minutes of hockey had been played, the visiting Bruins had already secured a two-goal lead. Nathan Horton wristed home a loose puck from near the bottom of the circle at the 1:11 mark, and Patrice Bergeron buried a softy 2:39 later from the faceoff dot the Anders Lindback’s left to make it 2-0 Boston.
The Bolts cut the lead in half when Steven Stamkos – whose line was on the ice for each of the B’s early goals – fired home a nice feed from Teddy Purcell. With nine minutes gone in the second, Purcell set up Cory Conacher for the tying tally. The game wasn’t knotted up for long, however, as Brad Marchand’s team-leading ninth goal put the Black and Gold back on top. Horton added an insurance marker with a tip-in 2:33 into the third, and Tuukka Rask stopped all nine shots he faced in the final frame.
Records: Boston 10-2-2, 22 points; Tampa Bay 8-7-1, 17 points
Key Play of the Game: After Rask stoned (28) on a partial breakaway, Andy Ference whipped the puck up the ice. Tyler Seguin’s bid was blocked, but Marchand scooped up the puck right in the slot and ripped it past Lindback for what proved to be the game-winner.
Connolly’s Commendations: Horton just loves feasting on the Bolts. The former Panther had two tallies and a game-high six shots. He now has 46 points in 45 career games against Tampa.
The line of Bergeron, Seguin and Marchand combined for five points on the night. In the last five games, they’ve racked up a total of 16 points.
Connolly’s Critiques: Funky night for Dougie Hamilton. The rookie had two assists, but he was also on the ice for both of Tampa’s goals and wound up seeing just 10:00 minutes of ice time, his lowest total yet.
Boston’s fourth line got severely outplayed by the opposition’s fourth forward unit. The two were on the ice together a lot early in the game, during which B.J. Crombeen, Brian Lee and NHL rookie Richard Panik were generating scoring chances by the bushel.
Notes: After missing Boston’s game in Winnipeg due to personal reasons, Milan Lucic was back in the lineup. Rask came into the game with a goals-against average above 4.00 lifetime against the Lightning. Stamkos now has seven points during a four-game point streak.
Final Thoughts: The Bruins looked like they were en route to a runaway win early, but logic dictated that the potent Bolts lineup couldn’t be silenced all night. Once the Lightning pushed, however, Boston pushed right back and regained control of the game quickly to improve to 2-1 on their current road trip.
Next: The Bruins will head to Sunrise to take on the Florida Panthers on Sunday night.