By Danny Picard
BOSTON -- The Bruins won the battle for second place in the Eastern Conference on Thursday night at the TD Garden, as Milan Lucics 28th goal of the season, with 3:42 left in regulation, gave the Bs their first lead of the game and their seventh straight win, 2-1 over Tampa Bay.
Both the Bruins and Lightning entered the game with 81 points.
Lucic put Boston ahead after a loose puck squirted out to the left side of the net, and he finished with a wrister upstairs on Lightning goaltender Mike Smith.
The teams went into the third period tied at 1-1, and Bruins defenseman Steve Kampfer was involved in both goals.
His turnover in Bostons zone, four minutes into the second period, led to an Eric Brewer shot from the high slot that beat Tim Thomas to the low-right corner. Kampfer tried clearing the zone along the left wall, but put the puck right on Blair Jones tape at the point.
Jones kept it in the Bruins zone, and dropped a pass to Brewer at the high slot, giving Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead.
But Kampfer got it right back, two minutes later, when he beat Smith with a low slap shot from the right point, tying the game at 1-1.
Kampfer rewarded the hard work of Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley in the Lightning corner, who battled on the forecheck to work the puck out to the point. Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling that US democracy still works even there are extreme factors that our founding fathers couldn’t possibly have imagined.
*Edmonton Oilers reclamation project Zack Kassian continues his journey from villain to hero in the eyes of the Oil Faithful.
*Old warrior Chris Neil is weighing NHL offers right now along with a number of other older veterans still waiting for the right situation to present itself for next season. Many of these veterans are probably going to have to report to training camps on tryout agreements and beat out younger players for jobs, and that may be exactly what happens with a grizzled, tough old bird like Neil. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bruins bring in a veteran or two on PTO agreements in camp, and that could be the ultimate fate for guys like Neil, Jarome Iginla, Shane Doan and even Thomas Vanek.
*The Vegas Golden Knights are still looking to inspire with a developing locker room message as their maiden voyage still awaits this season.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has longtime Habs defenseman Andrei Markov leaving for the KHL after he couldn’t come to an agreement to stay in Montreal with the Canadiens.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Ryan Kennedy has a prospects mailbag at this quiet point in the summer, and he’s very, very high on Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex Debrincat.
*The Hockey News details why somebody needs to step up and sign the legendary Jaromir Jagr as one of the aforementioned veteran forwards still looking for a job.
*For something completely different: Solid Steve Lattimer reference in this Pro Football Talk story about performance enhancing drugs.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while marveling that we’re just now learning about the massive rap skills of the brotherly duo of Andrew and Pete Frates.
*Ken Campbell from the Hockey News says that if influential players, like Connor McDavid, want to go to the Olympics then they need to get more involved in the CBA negotiations.
*Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang shows what a class act he is by taking the Stanley Cup to a children’s hospital in Montreal.
*PHT writer James O’Brien has the Minnesota Wild looking to find long term deals for both restricted free agents Mikael Granlund and Nino Niederreiter. That was pretty clear when they chose to deal off Marco Scandella in order to clear up some cap space to afford both of them.
*The Edmonton Oilers are going to face higher expectations for next season, and are willing to embrace that kind of pressure.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Craig Custance wonders aloud whether there will be any offer sheets coming for restricted free agents. I appreciate Craig wanting to add a little more intrigue to the NHL’s offseason, but it isn’t going to happen as long as GMs are treated like they have small pox once they go that route with an offer sheet. Take a look at the future job prospects for general managers that went with offer sheets in the past, and you’ll see why GMs simply don’t do them. This is why the Bruins are uncomfortable with David Pastrnak sitting unsigned as a restricted free agent, but not overly concerned that he’s going to sign a mega-offer sheet elsewhere.
*The CCM hockey brand is apparently changing hands from its former home at Adidas.
*For something completely different: Speaking of Pete Frates, MLB has announced a fundraising drive for ALS research in his name.