TAMPA – The Bruins wanted to get the road trip off to a good start, and they did just that by taking down the best hockey club they’ll see over the next week.
It started off with a bang as Boston potted a pair of goals in the first four minutes of the game, and the Black and Gold held on for the 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Tampa Times Forum. The win gives the Bruins a modest two-game winning streak and snapped a two-game winning stretch for the Bolts.
The difference was Brad Marchand’s strike in the middle of the second period after Matt Carle had blocked a Tyler Seguin shot from the left wing. The Nose Face Killah picked up the loose puck in the slot area and snapped it under the bar as Anders Lindback had already begun moving to stop Seguin’s initial shot.
Prior to that, Boston scored both of their goals early with Nathan Horton firing in the rebound of a Dougie Hamilton shot just 70 seconds into the game, and Marchand fighting off the bigger Victor Hedman and Eric Brewer to set up a Patrice Bergeron score.
Steve Stamkos and Corey Conacher took advantage of Boston breakdowns in both the first and second period, and tied things up until Marchand’s strike with 6:02 remaining in the middle period.
Horton added the insurance marker in the opening minutes of the third period when he perfectly tipped a Zdeno Chara slap-pass for his second goal of the night and his 25th career strike against the Lightning. The B’s score arrived almost immediately after the top-ranked Boston penalty kill unit salted away a roughing call on Chara from the end of the second frame.
GOLD STAR: Nathan Horton nearly had a hat trick when a couple of attempts at the empty net in the last minute dinged off the post, but it was still his best game of the season. Horton scored just 71 seconds into the game on the rebound of a Dougie Hamilton shot and then scored again on the perfect redirection of a Zdeno Chara slap-pass for the insurance goal early in the third period. He also finished with a game-high six shots on net and looked as engaged and aggressive as he’s been all season.
BLACK EYE: For both Victor Hedman and Eric Brewer as they allowed the much smaller Brad Marchand to get them to a puck battle behind their own net before setting up a Patrice Bergeron score from the slot. Brewer finished up as a minus-2 and Hedman was a minus-1 as they proved that there is still a soft underbelly to the Tampa Bay Lightning when it comes to their defensive play. Hedman needs to get tougher if he’s ever going to be the elite D-man people envisioned him to be when he was a top draft pick.
TURNING POINT: For the Bruins it was killing the Tampa Bay power play at the beginning of the third period with Zdeno Chara in the penalty box on a bogus roughing call. The Bruins were already leading by a 3-2 score at the time, but a successful Lightning power play could have potentially changed the game’s complexion. Instead the Bruins PK went 3-for-3 in killing off penalties and continued to up the percentages for its NHL-leading special teams unit.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brad Marchand finished with only a pair of shots in 14:59 of ice time, but he also factored greatly in a pair of goals including scoring his second straight game-winning goal for the Bruins. It was Marchand’s fighting spirit that created Boston’s second goal when he clawed the puck away from Victor Hedman and Eric Brewer before feeding Patrice Bergeron in front of the net for a first period goal. Then he scored the game winner after very nearly leaving the ice for a line change toward the end of the second period. It’s a good thing he didn’t. Marchand added a little Nose Face Killah flavor by nearly dropping the gloves with Corey Conacher at the end of the second period after the tiny Lightning forward tried to start a shoving match with Zdeno Chara.
BY THE NUMBERS: 25 – the number of goals that Nathan Horton has scored against the Tampa Bay Lightning in his career, much of which was spent playing them often as a member of the Florida Panthers.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I ran out of Underoos.” –Johnny Boychuk, postgame while holding a bundle of sweat-soaked Bruins hockey Under Armor gear amid the humid conditions in the Tampa Times Forum. Boychuk said he went through seven pairs during the 60 minute as the Bruins adjusted to a much hotter, more humid climate in the Tampa arena.