BOSTON -- The Bruins got two shorthanded goals, which included a penalty shot, and got 32 saves from Tuukka Rask en route to a season-opening 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night at the TD Garden.
Patrice Bergeron put the finishing touches on the win by scoring Boston's second shorthanded goal of the night, four minutes into the third period, giving the B's a 3-1 lead.
Bergeron started a 2-on-1 rush from his own zone while trying to kill a 5-on-3 Tampa Bay power play. He skated hard down the right wing. When he got into Tampa Bay's zone, he pulled a nifty toe-drag on Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas and quickly let one rip. The puck hit goaltender Anders Lindback and bounced over the goal line.
Milan Lucic gave the Bruins their second lead of the game with a minute left in the second period when he wristed one top-left from the top of the left circle, putting Boston up 2-1.
David Krejci set Lucic up with a nice drop pass from the left half wall, and Lucic quickly let one rip upstairs.
It came nearly nine minutes after the Lightning tied the score at 1 midway through the second, when Valtteri Filppula finished off a rush created by Eric Brewer, as he caught the Bruins' defenseman trying to get offensive and took the puck with speed down the right wing.
Brewer went wide on Daniel Paille at the B's blue line, then toe-dragged around a sprawling Greg Campbell in the right circle, and dished it across the slot to Filppula at the left post, who put it home to tie the game.
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead into the second period, thanks to a shorthanded penalty shot that Chris Kelly finished of with a nice deke on Lindback, with 8:21 left in the first.
With 33 seconds left on a Tampa Bay power play, Kelly intercepted a Mark Barberio pass at the Lightning blue line. He stepped in all alone and was hooked on the way there, setting up Kelly's first career penalty shot.
On that penalty shot, Kelly -- the left-handed shot -- faked a snapper, deked right, then left, and pulled back to the right on his backhand, where he had Lindback fooled, and slid it into the open net for the Bruins' first goal of the regular season.
Shawn Thornton and Jarome Iginla both dropped the mitts for the B's, with Thornton fighting Pierre-Cedric Labrie in the first period, and Iginla throwing down with Gudas in the second.
Talking points from CSNNE.com Bruins insider Joe Haggerty:
GOLD STAR: Chris Kelly struggled last season amid a lot of different obstacles thrown in his path, but he helped lead the way for the Bruins on opening night when they clearly weren’t firing on all pistons. The third-line center broke free while helping kill a Tampa Bay power play, and earned himself shorthanded penalty shot in the first period – the first of his career. All Kelly did was pull out the Gordon Bombay-style triple deke and mystify Anders Lindback while putting the Bruins up, 1-0. He finished with two shots on net and won 12-of-17 face-offs while putting an exclamation point on this being an entirely new season for No. 23.
BLACK EYE: Anders Lindback allowed three goals on 25 shots, and had another goal disallowed when the ref lost track of a loose puck in the crease that should have been a rebound goal for Jordan Caron. The Bruins didn’t get a ton of offensive pressure on the Tampa Bay netminder, but he let a Patrice Bergeron shorthanded attempt trickle through his pads and was completely faked out of his crease on the Kelly penalty shot. While the Lightning thought enough of him to give him the start against Boston, he looked like any old replacement level 6-foot-7 Nordic-type in goalie pads.
TURNING POINT: It was still a 2-1 game in the third period with the Lightning headed on their second full 5-on-3 power play of the contest, and it looked like the Bolts might get back into it. But instead Patrice Bergeron makes a nice pass to himself off the wall and breaks in all alone for a shorthanded goal after he toe-dragged Radko Gudas directly in front of the Tampa net. Once the Bruins were up by two goals and they’d effectively neutered the Tampa power play, it was all over except for the crying given the way Tuukka Rask was playing.
HONORABLE MENTION: Speaking of Rask, he made 15 saves in the first period while the rest of the Bruins were getting their bearings and stopped Teddy Purcell right before the buzzer to protect a one-goal lead. In all, he made 32 stops on a Tampa Bay team that enjoyed some pretty good offensive chances against the Bruins, and allowed only one goal when his defensemen had a complete breakdown in front of him leading to a 2-on-1 chance for Valtteri Filppula. Rask and the B’s penalty kill unit were the two biggest reasons Boston ended up as winners on opening night.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5 – the number of shot attempts generated by Jordan Caron on a night when he was one of the best players on the ice for the Bruins, and looked like a guy motivated to carve out a spot for himself in the NHL.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “Just don’t fire me this year.” –A smiling Claude Julien when asked about the loud ovations for both the Bruins coach and Patrice Bergeron in pregame introductions.