Final, 3-2 Bruins: The Bruins talk a lot about how resilient they are, but they back it up on the ice with wins like this one. They battled hard and got their first lead of the game after nearly 58 full minutes. The B’s have a lot to feel good about after this one.
Third period, 2:16, 3-2 Bruins: When you rush the puck looking for an offensive chance when you’re short-handed, you leave yourself vulnerable, and the Lightning just learned that the hard way.
Following a rush up to the Bruins’ end, a high shot led to a 2-on-1 rush with Bergeron and Marchand. Bergeron carried into the zone and fed the puck to Marchand, who roofed it to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead.
Third period, 5:39, 2-2: Milan Lucic is angry at Cory Conacher. Lucic took a high stick to the face after Garon covered up the puck, and Lucic ended up crashing into Garon before laying on the ice for several moments. He got up and looked like he wanted to fight everybody, but the linesman made sure he made it back to the bench without causing a ruckus.
Now, the B’s go on the power play. Brendan Mikkelson is in the box for four minutes. Time to win the game for the power play?
Third period, 6:45, 2-2: The PK unit gets it done. Zero shots allowed.
Third period, 9:14, 2-2: The Bruins’ penalty kill is working overtime today, and they’re about to go back out for perhaps the two most crucial minutes of this contest. Dougie Hamilton was engaged in a battle with Marty St. Louis in front of the Boston net, and the rookie fell to the ice and grabbed a hold of the forward’s stick. The ref initially let it go, but after a big mess in front, he sent Hamilton off for two minutes.
Third period, 12:54, 2-2: Some good back and forth hockey to open this period, and best of all, no penalties!
Tyler Seguin just did some nice work in the offensive zone to free up some space and fire a slap shot from about 25 feet. He shot it right into Garon’s gut though.
Third period, 17:37, 2-2: The Lightning get some sustained pressure to start the period, but Khudobin stands tall.
Third period, 20:00, 2-2: Twenty minutes to go. The only thing I’m hoping for is for these refs to let them play this period. I think we’ve seen enough penalties for the afternoon, eh?
End of second period, 2-2: Andrew Ference owes his teammates big time, as they were able to do great work on the four-minute Tampa Bay power play and kill it off. The Bruins’ penalty kill is now 5-for-7 after starting 0-for-2. That kill was able to keep the Bruins in the game and give them reason to feel good during this intermission.
Feelings wont’ mean much though when the puck drops again in the third, as the B’s find themselves in yet another tight one. They’ve given us all every reason in the world to believe they can finish strong, too, so expect a pretty fun period … so long as the refs cool it with the whistles.
Second period, 4:11, 2-2: Not a good afternoon for Andrew Ference, who gets a double-minor for high-sticking Nate Thompson in the neutral zone. Ference now has 6 PIMs.
Second period, 6:56, 2-2: The Bruins were able to kill that penalty, thanks mostly to Khudobin, who made a glove save on a one-timed slapper by St. Louis and another nice one later in the kill off the stick of Marc-Andre Bergeron.
We now have not seen a boarding penalty called in more than three minutes. Expect another one soon.
Second period, 10:32, 2-2: Jay Pandolfo to the penalty box for … boarding. Well, all right then.
Second period, 13:31, 2-2: You’re not going to believe this but … we’ve got another boarding penalty.
This one’s called on Vincent Lecavalier for hitting Johnny Boychuk. From up here on Level 9, it looked more like Boychuk fell over, and these refs haven’t exactly earned the benefit of the doubt from me. It’s the third boarding call of the day, but the first on Tampa.
Second period, 15:21, 2-2: And just like that, we’re all tied up.
Rich Peverley, in almost the same spot Seguin scored, takes a pass from the Adam McQuaid at the left point and fired it into an empty net, as Mathieu Garon was late getting to his right. The building erupted, and this one’s tied at 2-2.
Second period, 16:38, 2-1 Lightning: Tyler Seguin has a pretty good Steve Stamkos impersonation.
Seguin just roofed a beauty of a goal from the left faceoff circle on the power play, giving the Bruins a much-needed goal with the man advantage to cut the lead to 2-1.
The top unit looked great for the full minute-plus on the ice, but it was Seguin’s next-level sniping ability that made that goal happen. Dougie Hamilton and Krejci get the assists.
Second period, 17:56, 2-0 Lightning: Penalty – killed, and now the Bruins go on the power play. Eric Brewer goes off for interference, and I’m not sure these referees know what they’re doing. The Bruins desperately need a power play goal, though.
Second period, 20:00, 2-0 Lightning: The second period is under way, with a huge kill coming up for the Bruins. Another Lightning goal could be a back-breaker.
End of first period, 2-0 Lightning: The Bruins aren’t playing their best, but man, they’re not getting any breaks from the refs. Milan Lucic just got called for boarding after he laid a perfectly clean body check on Victor Hedman in the corner behind the Lightning net. Hedman was looking up, and Lucic hit him right in the chest. Pretty terrible call, and it was the second one of the period that I think was influenced by the force with which the player went into the boards. Both Seidenberg and Lucic were penalized, essentially, for being strong and able to lay the wood.
The Bruins will have 1:52 of the penalty to kill when the second period resumes.
Special teams have been a sore spot so far in this one. The B’s PK is just 1-for-3, with the Lightning needing just 21 seconds on the man advantage to score their first goal and 52 seconds to score their second. The Bruins’ power play is 0-for-1 as well.
The Bruins also have just seven shots on goal, which is quite the drop-off from Thursday night, when they fired 46 shots on net. The Lightning have just five shots themselves, but they’ve been able to bury two of them.
That’s all to say things don’t look very good, but this team has prided itself on resiliency all season long, and there’s a long way to go.
First period, 3:29, 2-0 Lightning: The Bruins’ first power-play unit, with Krejci at the point and Seguin on the half wall, looked great, and Nathan Horton nearly buried a loose puck, but it dribbled just far away from his stick to keep the B’s off the board.
With 16:31 gone, the Bruins have just six shots on net. They had 46 on Thursday night.
First period, 6:48, 2-0 Lightning: The Bruins kill the penalty and now go on the power play. Keith Aulie got called for interfering with Rich Peverley after a dump-in. It was a dumb call but I think the refs owed Boston one after the Seidenberg penalty.
First period, 9:15, 2-0 Lightning: Oh boy, and now Dennis Seidenberg goes to the box for boarding Benoit Pouliot. The two were skating towawrd a loose puck in the corner behind the Bruins’ net, and Seidenberg laid a shoulder into Pouliot, who looked like he got hit by a freight train as he went flying into the boards. I think it looked a lot worse than it was, and had it been a bigger or stronger skater, Seidenberg wouldn’t have been penalized.
First period, 9:43, 2-0 Lightning: The Bergeron line was able to create a mess in front, and the puck ended up sitting in the crease for a second. The Lightning, however, were able to clear the puck to safety (somehow). That would have been a big swing.
First period, 11:03, 2-0 Lightning: After falling behind 2-0, the Bruins needed something, and Adam McQuaid just tried to provide it. He dropped the mitts with Pierre-Cedric Labrie, and the two went at it for an extended bout near the penalty boxes. McQuaid landed a lot more punches than Labrie, and the crowd was energized for the first time of the afternoon. Let’s see if his teammates get a jolt, too.
First period, 11:22, 2-0 Lightning: This is not the start the Bruins wanted.
Teddy Purcell skated his way into the Boston zone and passed to a streaking Alexander Killorn. He deked Khudobin and buried the Lightning’s second power-play goal.
First period, 12:14, 1-0 Lightning: After an uneventful two-minute stretch of 4-on-4, the Bruins are going back on the penalty kill. Andrew Ference gets called for the trip of Benoit Pouliot on a 2-on-2 rush, and the Lightning will get another chance on the man advantage.
First period, 14:28, 1-0 Lightning: Well, that didn’t take long. The Lightning possessed the puck in the Boston zone and cycled the puck to Steven Stamkos, who was nearly on the goal line toward the corner. However, that guy can score from anywhere, and he picked a spot over Khudobin’s shoulder to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead.
The Bruins’ PK starts off 0-for-1 on the day, which doesn’t happen often.
First period, 14:49: No score yet, but Lucic heads to the box for interference just seconds after tipping a Horton pass just wide of the net. Could be a big swing if the Lightning capitalize here.
First period, 20:00: For a 1 p.m. game, the TD Garden is pretty packed at puck drop, even more so than the usual 7 p.m. starts. Let’s see if the Bruins can get the crowd riled up early on. This one’s under way.
12:55 p.m.: A late curveball in the lineup from Claude Julien today, as Jay Pandolfo will skate in place of Shawn Thornton, who will be the healthy scratch.
I’ve watched Thornton this year, and he just doesn’t look to be his normal self — and that’s leaving aside the head injury he suffered in his bout with John Scott. I feel of all the Bruins players, Thornton looked the rustiest coming out of the lockout. That’s not to say he was out of shape, because we know how hard he works out during the offseason, but he hasn’t been in much of a rhythm at all this year. He was one goal and no assists and is a minus-4. I think he’ll continue to be a crucial member of that fourth line, but giving him a day here in place of the experienced veteran Pandolfo is not a bad move.
And Julien’s mix-up is not just on the fourth line. Despite what we saw in warmups, Julien will start a line of Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley. That likely means Bourque will move down to the fourth linen with Gregory Campbell and Jay Pandolfo. Interesting. Bourque did take two penalties the other night, and he hasn’t produced much, so a demotion may have been in order. Still, on this team, the fourth line remains an important unit, so he’ll still get his playing time. What will be more interesting to see is if Bourque gets taken off the power play.
12:41 p.m.: No changes to the Bruins’ lineup, as expected. A couple of notes from the warmup:
–A group of five youngsters got to sit on the Bruins’ bench during warmups for an ice-level view, and Shawn Thornton skated over to them and gave them all fist bumps. The kids looked shy and a little nervous, probably because they’re used to seeing that guy fight for a living, but it was cool to see.
–The Bruins’ are wearing their third jerseys, which are being worn pretty often this year. This is the fourth time we’ve seen them.
–Toward the end of warmups, the Lightning spent time just practicing their one-timers. Steve Stamkos, Vinny Lacavalier and Martin St. Louis were just firing away, and it was kind of worth the price of admission. Those guys are good, and I wouldn’t really want to be Anton Khudobin right now.
12:30 p.m.: The extraordinarily busy section of the Bruins’ schedule, a two-month stretch that offers just one two-day break in total, is under way, with the Tampa Bay Lightning in town for a matinee matchup.
The Lightning enter this game losers of three straight games and four of their last five. That includes a a 4-2 loss to Boston on Feb. 21 down in Tampa.
The Lightning actually got off to a hot start at 6-1-0, but they currently sit at 9-10-1, going 3-9-1 in their last 13 games.
The Bruins, meanwhile, could be considered red-hot, winners of five straight games and having picked up points in all but one game in the month of February. Their plus-15 goal differential has them at 13-2-2 on the season.
The teams have taken the ice for warmups, and I’ll provide any notable lineup changes for each team. We do know already that Anton Khudobin will be between the pipes for Boston. He’s 2-1-0 with a 2.69 GAA and .905 save percentage so far on the season.