BOSTON -- The Bruins scored two power-play goals and even saw Tyler Seguin light the lamp with a snipe on Saturday afternoon. But it was Brad Marchand who continued to do what he's done all season long, and scored the game-winning goal with 2:16 remaining in regulation to give Boston a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden.
Marchand finished a power-play 2-on-1 by putting a shot upstairs from the left circle, after receiving a pass from Patrice Bergeron.
It was the only goal scored in the third period, and it gave backup goaltender Anton Khudobin his third win of the season.
The Lightning scored two power-play goals in the first period, as Steven Stamkos and Alexander Killorn both beat Anton Khudobin to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead through one.
Stamkos' goal was an absolute snipe from the low-left circle, 5:23 into the game, as he put a shot top left, giving Khudobin no chance.
Khudobin could have saved the second goal, from Killorn, midway through the first, but the Lightning forward stepped out front untouched from the left circle and slid the puck into the net at the far post.
Seguin tried to top Stamkos' power-play snipe by snapping home a shot from the low-left circle himself. The snapper went top-left, and clearly took a weight off Seguin's shoulders as he showed plenty of emotion following the goal that cut Tampa Bay's lead to 2-1, just 3:22 into the second period.
Rich Peverley scored an eerily similar type of goal just 1:11 later, as he one-timed a puck from the low-left circle into the top-left corner of the net, tying the game at 2-2, which it remained into the second intermission, until Marchand finished the Lightning off in the final minutes.
GOLD STAR: The Bruins power play gets a rare day in the sun as they equaled the offensive output of the talented Tampa Bay Lightning power play, and produced the game-winning goal in the third period. The first PP possession in the second period that sparked the Tyler Seguin one-timer from the left circle might have been Boston’s best power play possession of the season, and it allowed them to snap an 0-for-27 power play funk to start the season. Then a four-minute double minor in the last few minutes of the third period gave the Bruins suddenly potent PP the exact kind of chance that they needed.
BLACK EYE: What was Mathieu Garon doing on that final game-winning goal for the Bruins? The Tampa Bay Lightning goalie was way out of the net and off his angles for the final 2-on-1 with only Victor Hedman standing back to defend the play, and had no ability to slide over once Patrice Bergeron shuffled the puck over to Brad Marchand for a shot attempt. Marchand buried it into the open net and the Bruins have themselves another win in a one-goal game this season. Garon made 24 saves in the game, but the loss dropped his season ledger to 2-7 on the year for the Bolts, and that’s been a major problem for a Tampa team pushing to stay in the playoff hunt.
TURNING POINT: The tipping point for the game actually arrived in the first four minutes of the second period when the Bruins finally broke it open with their first power play goal of the season on home ice. Tyler Seguin snapped a one-timer from the left circle off a Dougie Hamilton point pass, and completed a play that the Bruins have been waiting to see all season. Perhaps it was the chance to see Steve Stamkos rip one himself in the first period as the model for his goal, but that goal gave the needed new Bruins life after a rough first period.
HONORABLE MENTION: Zdeno Chara logged a team-high 26:31 of ice time and a 7:45 of shorthanded ice time while helping to keep the Tampa Bay Lightning off the board five-on-five while also effectively bottling up Stamkos, St. Louis and Lecavalier after the first period special teams’ blasts. He also managed three shots on net, three hits and a blocked shot without getting dragged into the penalty fiesta taking place on the ice. The big Bruins captain didn’t factor into any of the scoring for the Bruins, but it was pretty clear that some players had defensive assignments against the Lightning – and Chara was one of them.
BY THE NUMBERS: 4 – the number of game-winning goals for Brad Marchand this season, which puts him in a tie for the NHL league lead with guys named Eric Staal and James Neal.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “He was just setting himself up. That’s what good goal scorers do. They set themselves up and they get the right gap. He was in the right place at the right time.” –A smiling Claude Julien talking about Brad Marchand on the game-winner, where he “set himself up” by lagging behind while jawing with officials about a lack of a cross-checking call on a power play possession and was in the perfect spot to finish off a 2-on-1 rush when the puck came back toward the offensive zone.