By Joe Haggerty
TAMPA, Fla. Its often called a perfect road hockey game, and thats what the Bruins played here Thursday night while shocking the Lightning in their own tropical backyard.
A David Krejci goal just 69 seconds into the game caught Tampa Bay napping, and Andrew Ference added another in the third period to give the Bruins a 2-0 victory at the St. Pete Times Forum.
The victory featured a much improved defensive effort, plus a much improved Tim Thomas from the very start of the game, and it gives the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
A shutout was exactly what the doctor ordered after the Bruins had allowed 10 goals in the first two games of the series.
They jumped all over the Lightning early in the game, and for the first time in the series scored the first goal of the game to take an early advantage and improved to 7-0 during this playoff run when they seize the lead first.
It was much more of a back-to-basics effort for both teams as the Bruins regained their defensive responsibility. It was up to Bostons interior defense to hold strong and keep the Bolts out of the middle of the attack zone for the duration of the game, and they managed to execute that plan.
Thomas also enjoyed his best game of the series while holding strong for 60 minutes. His night included solid work with two stupendous saves in the first period: an initial stop on Vinny Lecavalier's spinning shot and a smothering of a Teddy Purcell follow from the slot area.
Andrew Ference's goal through a Chris Kelly screen midway through the third period was all the insurance Boston would need to take home a huge road victory. Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while amazed, and alarmed, at any politician that would ever duck a town hall-style meeting with their constituents.
*Patrick Eaves had a close encounter of the hairy kind with the mighty Chewbacca during a recent visit to Disney. Let’s just say Eaves, Brent Burns and Chewie could all be from the same family tree.
*Good, long read on junior hockey scoring star Alex Debrincat, who Bruins fans will remember that Boston passed over to draft Trent Frederic at the end of the first round last summer. He’s scoring at the kind of levels that say he might be something special at the next level. Just saying.
*Wayne Gretzky jumps on the Florida Panthers telecast to chat about Jaromir Jagr, and jokes about what he’ll do if Jagr ever gets close to his NHL all-time scoring title.
*Pierre Lebrun has a list of NHL defensemen that are in demand ahead of the trade deadline, and it’s a fairly underwhelming list aside from Kevin Shattenkirk.
*If you’re looking for some good Blackhawks talk then you should check out the Blackhawks Talk podcast over at CSN Chicago.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Bob McKenzie dropped into the NBCSN studios again this past week to chat about the NHL tweaking the bye weeks moving forward after watching them play out this season.
*People getting concerned about turning budding personal NHL rivalries into another “Ovechkin vs. Crosby” is perhaps the dumbest NHL hot take I’ve ever heard. The Ovechkin/Crosby rivalry was perfectly good and anything to draw attention to the NHL and its players is also good. This is the kind of thing said by somebody that I’m sure gets more super-excited by a bar graph showing a player’s effectiveness rather than watching what they’re actually doing on the ice.
*For something completely different: A really interesting look from a random date that Carrie Fisher took to the 1978 Oscars while palling around with the young, new stars of Hollywood.