After falling behind 2-0 after the first 20 minutes of play, the Boston Bruins rallied back with three unanswered goals against the Tampa Bay Lightning this afternoon at TD Garden to earn their sixth straight win and temporarily leap frog the Montreal Canadiens for first place in the Northeast Division (the Canadiens take on the Penguins tonight). Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Brad Marchand had the goals for the B’s, and Anton Khudobin stopped 20 of 22 shots to earn the victory.
Much has been made about the Lightning’s ability to score goals and their inability to keep them out of their own net, and today’s game was a prime example. A penalty-filled first period (5 BOS penalties and a fight) played to Tampa’s advantage, resulting in Steven Stamkos and Alex Killhorn power play goals in the first 10 minutes of the game, quickly putting the Bruins behind. The Black and Gold didn’t do much to gain the momentum having to kill off two more penalties in the period, but luckily the penalty kill units were able to rebound and take care of the remaining disadvantages, closing out the first trailing 2-0.
Claude Julien undoubtedly had some choice words for his team in the first intermission, as the second period was a much different story. The Bruins earned a power play of their own just two minutes into the period on an Eric Brewer interference call, and for once the it didn’t let them down. The Bruins first unit of Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Nathan Horton, David Krejci and Dougie Hamilton looked comfortable and confident, easily moving the puck around Tampa’s penalty killers. After nearly scoring seconds before on the rebound of a Hamilton shot from the point, Tyler Seguin roofed a pass from the Bruins rookie defenseman to cut the lead in half.
The Bruins kept the intensity up after the goal, and just 1:17 later Rich Peverley netted a nearly identical goal, taking an Adam McQuaid feed and one-timing his third goal of the season past Lightning goalie Mathieu Garon to tie the game up.
Gregory Campbell and B.J. Crombeen dropped the gloves shortly after, with Campbell doing a good job to hold off the NHL’s leader in fights and not allowing the Lightning to grab back any momentum. The Bruins would have to kill off six more minutes of penalties in the remainder of the period, but managed to keep the Lightning off the board and went to the dressing room with the game still tied at two.
The teams battled through most of the third period until Lightning defenseman Brendan Mikkelson took a double minor for high sticking Lucic on a Bruins rush to the Tampa net, and once again the Bruin power play would step up. Ironically it was the Lightning who had the first chance to score with a shorthanded 3-on-2 rush, but Steven Stamkos rifled a wrist shot well wide and the loose puck ricocheted all the way around the boards and out into the neutral zone. Bruin forward Patrice Bergeron was there waiting, quickly picking up the loose puck and starting a 2-on-1 rush with Brad Marchand. Bergeron, tied for the team lead in points, would give Marchand a no look pass that caught Garon sleeping and well out of position, and the Bruins leading goal scorer buried the eventual game winner into the top corner with just under two and a half minutes remaining.
The Lightning would pull Garon about a minute later for the extra attacker, but could not manage to beat Khudobin, as some great defensive zone work by the B’s kept pucks away from the Boston net and prevented any quality scoring chances.
The win was Boston’s sixth straight, and improved their home record to 6-1-1 on the season. Khudobin earned his third victory of the year in relief of Tuukka Rask, and should continue to get starts as the Bruins head into a busy month of March. The grind continues tomorrow night as the Canadiens are in town for their second matchup of the year with the B’s.
- Brad Marchand – on fire right now with his team leading 11th goal of the season and some strong offensive play all afternoon long. Last four goals have been game winners, and trails only Bergeron and Krejci in points with 14.
- Third Line - a new look with Dan Paille taking Chris Bourque’s spot on the left wing, I thought this line looked much stronger and more confident. Some hard work by Paille led to the Peverley tying goal, and the trio had good energy and jump all afternoon.
- Power Play - stepped up today. First two PPGs at TD Garden this year, and they were big ones. Brick talks a lot about opportunistic scoring, and I’d file these under that.
- Defensive Zone Play – overall, one of the better team efforts of the year. The Stamkos PP was ridiculous, and though the Killhorn goal left something to be desired, those were really the Lightning’s two best chances all afternoon. Holding Tampa to 22 shots on net despite eight power play chances says a lot about how effective the Bruins were in their own end.
- Gregory Campbell – Big stick tap. I usually give Campbell a hard time for his lack of pugilistic skills despite his abundant willingness, but his ability to handle B.J. Crombeen after the Bruins tied the game was big. With Shawn Thornton a healthy scratch, two quick Bruins goals were sure to be answered with some fisticuffs, and Soupy stepped up and for once didn’t eat a large serving of knuckle sandwich. He controlled Crombeen for the duration and kept the momentum in the Bruins favor, and it would pay off later in the game.
Ba-Ba-Ba-Board, Board, Board..Board is the word.#Bruins
— Dan St.Pierre (@DanStPierre9) March 2, 2013
I’m beginning to think that today’s NHL & FIFA referee exchange program hasn’t exactly been succesful.#Awful
— Mike From Attleboro (@MikeFromATown) March 2, 2013
- Penalties/Officiating – just awful. Four boarding calls, three interference calls, and only one was actually warranted. Power plays had a direct impact on the outcome of the game. Another sloppy day on the job for the stripes.
- Jay Pandolfo - in the lineup in Shawn Thornton’s place and took an obvious boarding call (the one warranted call from above) not long after the Bruins tied the game in the second. Didn’t see much ice after (played only 9:16, second lowest on the team behind Chris Bourque). Has a very simple role to play, and can’t be taking avoidable penalties like that.
Stamkos Goal – Normally I wouldn’t post an opposing team’s goal, but this was sick. No angle, ridiculous one-timer. Guy is fun to watch, that’s for sure.