TAMPA – Here are 15 thoughts after the third period with the Bruins beating the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 4-2 score after 60 minutes of play at the Tampa Times Forum.
1) Bruins jump on board with a pair of goals in the opening minutes of the game from their top two lines after they’ve started off trailing in countless games this season. Nathan Horton was all over the rebound of a Dougie Hamilton shot, and Brad Marchand fought off both Victor Hedman and Eric Brewer for a puck behind the net and fed to Patrice Bergeron for the second goal. Good hustle to create offensive chances and the finish to score on them = a pretty good combo.
2) Tough ice over the last couple of days here in Tampa. Many voices from the Bruins were surprised at how badly the puck is bouncing wildly on the ice even though it’s been 80 degrees and humid in Florida. NHL ice guru Dan Craig was actually at morning skate on Thursday, so perhaps there’s been some complaints around the league about the Tampa Times Forum ice condition.
3) We saw the best and worst of Dougie Hamilton in the first period: it was his point shot that created the Nathan Horton goal in the first period and it was a lost battle in front of the net vs. Teddy Purcell that resulted in the Steve Stamkos goal later in the period. Dougie giveth and Dougie taketh away.
4) Bad Tyler Seguin is back tonight. He lost a battle in the corner that helped turn into Tampa’s only score, and missed high over the net on a golden chance to go one-on-one against a Tampa defenseman with time and space on his side later in the period.
5) The Lightning only had five shots on net, but it was quality over quantity. The Steve Stamkos goal was a golden chance as he was skating down the slot all by himself, and Tuukka Rask had to make a couple of five star saves later in the period on Richard Panik and Harvard’s Alexander Killorn later in the first period. Rask has been active coming out of the net, but very good otherwise during a challenging opening 20 minutes.
6) Bonus thought: very Boston Bruins heavy crowd here in Tampa tonight. Spontaneous "Let's go Bruins!" chants and big eruptions every time the B's score. Feels like a home game for the Black and Gold.
1) Dougie Hamilton is definitely having a few rookie moments tonight against the Lightning. He lost a battle in front with Teddy Purcell that led to a Steve Stamkos goal in the first period and then left Cory Conacher along with some bad gap control in the second that allowed the rookie to fire away against Tuukka Rask. He also made a nice play to cover the goal when Rask was out of position later on in the period, but there’s a reason Claude Julien is shortening the bench in the third by liming the rookie’s shifts.
2) Brad Marchand scored his ninth goal of the season on his 20th shot of the year. That is an insanely good ratio, but it also speaks to how dangerous Marchand is in the scoring areas with the puck. He got it right in the slot after a Matt Carle block of a Tyler Seguin shot had Anders Lindback moving in the other direction.
3) Weak roughing call on Zdeno Chara after Corey Conacher started trouble with the captain by shoving him. Chara responded with a couple of face-washes that knocked the rookie’s helmet off, and the refs whistled the big defenseman off. Whatever happened to rookie’s not getting calls from the refs?
4) Six hits and three shots on net for Milan Lucic in 11:24 of ice time. He’s been very active playing his style of game and is pounding down on the Tampa Bay defensemen. We’ll see if that has an effect in the third period.
5) Two assists and two takeaways for University of Maine product Teddy Purcell tonight through two periods. For my money he’s one of the most underrated players in all of the NHL.
1) Great night for David Krejci/Milan Lucic/Nathan Horton after a couple of off games in a row including a game in Winnipeg where they missed their left wing. Lucic had six hits and was playing his pounding physical style, and Horton finished with a two-goal game on the strength of an active six shots on net.
2) Only 10 minutes of ice time for Dougie Hamilton as he was on the ice for a couple of goals against. But the rookie defenseman also picked a pair of assists and made some decent plays in his own end. As long as he can off-set the defensive miscues with offensive plays then Hamilton will be just fine.
3) Bruins PK did a marvelous job as usual. They killed off a Zdeno Chara roughing call at the start of the third period that immediately preceded Nathan Horton’s insurance score. Then they killed another Tampa PP off late in the third period for good measure. That’s big time PK stuff.
4) No points and a minus-2 for Marty St. Louis. He may be having nightmares about Zdeno Chara after this one is over. He was active with five shots on net but the Bruins did a good job of containing the little sparkplug.
5) In case you missed Brad Marchand has scored nine goals on 20 total shots on goal for the season. That’s insanely good. Once again he helped create a pair of goals and was a huge factor for the B’s in victory.