Here are five thoughts after three periods, with the Bruins taking down the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 3-2 score after 60 minutes of action at TD Garden.
- Today marks the first time in five games that the Bruins have trailed at all, and one of those rare instances this season where they are down by a two goal deficit in the game. It will take something spirited from the B’s to get back into the game, but this is exactly the kind of game where a team needs to somehow salvage a point with everything going against them.
- Brutal period for the referees. They completely missed a third man in/instigator on Pierre-Cedric Labrie that led to the Labrie/McQuaid heavyweight bout in the first period, a boarding call on Dennis Seidenberg was incredibly iffy and the boarding call on Milan Lucic for a heavy, league hockey hit at the end of the first period was simply brutal. It wasn’t late, it wasn’t boarding and it was a good shoulder hit from one big hockey body to the other. Eric Furlatt and Ghislain Hebert might want to take a knee and sit out a few plays. In all the Bruins were whistled for five minor penalties in the first.
- Tampa power play had been slumping a bit in the last couple of weeks, but they were on fire in the first period. It started with getting four opportunities from the officials and finished with former University of Maine forward Teddy Purcell in the middle of everything: he fed Steve Stamkos for a scorched bad angle shot from the very bottom of the left face-off circle on one successful man advantage and drew three defenders toward him on a rush with speed that set up Alexander Killorn for the second score. Bruins PK went from killing 27 in a row to allowing two power play goals in one period in the next game.
- Interesting move to scratch Shawn Thornton. Pretty clear they’re looking for a little more offense and versatility by bumping Daniel Paille up to the third line, but they’re also losing some of their toughness. It does make sense to get Jay Pandolfo into a few more games moving forward, however, just to make sure he’s ready to step in should an injury cause an opening for him to play a bigger role.
- First fight in seven games for the Bruins when Adam McQuaid and Pierre-Cedric Labrie dropped the mitts for a legit NHL heavyweight bout. McQuaid had been looking to get into a scrap during the first period, and it made more sense once the Bruins were down by a couple of goals in the first period. Both combatants acquitted themselves well, and the Bruins unfortunately didn’t get much of an offensive bump or momentum burst from the hockey fight.
- Some really good things for the Bruins in this second period: first things first, Tyler Seguin unleashed a one-timer from the left circle off a Dougie Hamilton pass for his second power play goal of the season. Seguin also leads the Bruins with four shots on goal and seven shots attempted overall. The call has been for Seguin to become more of a dominant player on a consistent basis and he was that guy in the second period as the Bruins came all the way back from a two-goal deficit.
- Rich Peverley also snapped a four game scoreless stretch with another one-timer from the left face-off circle. He was calling for the puck with his stick throughout the possession and Adam McQuaid finally found him with the puck for another snapped one-timer into the short side of the net. The long, extended fist pump from Peverley showed some of the offensive frustration that he’s been feeling this season.
- Four assists in the last five games for Dougie Hamilton, who really seems to have found a good drove with the Bruins. He doesn’t play every single shift with Dennis Seidenberg, but instead has his spots picked for him by the B’s coaching staff and shines in the offensive zone. It was a pinpoint pass from Hamilton at the high point that set up Seguin’s one-timer to kick start some life in the Bruins game.
- The B’s also snapped an 0-for-27 stretch on the power play to start the season at TD Garden. What a concept actually getting some offense out of the special teams unit. They hoped to see more of the Stamkos-type one-timer game from Seguin this season, so perhaps that’s the start of a good run.
- Some rust for Jay Pandolfo and its understandable. He took a boarding call when he probably should have used up on crunching the Lightning player given the way the game has been called and he looked he was struggling a bit to stay on his skates during penalty kill duty. But it speaks to the importance of getting him in the lineup, so he can work himself into midseason form.
- If you had told me the Tampa Bay Lightning would have had eight power play chances during the game I would have predicted a blowout loss for the Black and Gold. It was shaky early but credit the Bruins for hanging in there when the referee’s whistle wasn’t in their favor this afternoon.
- Dennis Seidenberg replaced Chris Bourque at the point spot on the power play, and Bourque has been dropped to the fourth line. I’d say the next stop is being a healthy scratch as the Bruins are kicking things up a notch with some intensity, and the fourth line with Pandolfo and Bourque wasn’t a good mix today.
- Brad Marchand looks like he gets cross-checked on the power play possession in the offensive zone with no call. Then he was deep in the neutral zone when the puck came back in the other direction and he buried the shot on an 2-on-1 with Patrice Bergeron. Mathieu Garon was way out of the crease and couldn’t change direction for Marchand’s shot. His fourth game-winning goal of the season to lead the NHL.
- Big mistake by Brendan Mikkelson the Tampa Bay Lightning on high-sticking call to Lucic that gave the Bruins a four-minute power play late in the third period.
- Two power play goals at home in this game for the Bruins. Guess they’ve bought themselves a little bit of time to stop getting some of the “same old, same old” questions about it.