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 proud of my wife and daughter participating in today’s Women’s March.
*This is from a few days ago, but Bob McKenzie weighing in on the prospects for Claude Julien and his job security is always worth checking out.
*The New York Rangers have themselves a rookie named Pavel that’s doing a pretty darned good job for the Blueshirts.
*What should the St. Louis Blues do with Kevin Shattenkirk as the trade deadline approaches and the seven-year, $49 million contract waiting for him in free agency is pretty daunting?
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) Kevin Allen has a list of underperforming NHL stars, including Jamie Benn and Jonathan Toews, that may have been impacted by the World Cup of Hockey. Certainly Patrice Bergeron could have made this list as well.
*Blackhawks backup goalie Scott Darling may be earning some more playing time after the way he performed against the Bruins, according to Pro Hockey Talk.
*Good news with Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson set to return to the team in a couple of weeks after tending to his wife in a battle against cancer.
*The struggles of Anthony Duclair with the Arizona Coyotes mirror the team’s issues this season as well. It’s interesting that Duclair has popped up in trade rumors with the Desert Dogs this season.
*For something completely different: the final Wolverine movie with Hugh Jackman is going to be extremely emotional with its characters.
BRIGHTON, Mass – While both Kevan Miller and Colin Miller were missing from Bruins practice on Saturday morning, both injured Bruins defensemen could be rejoining the team soon.
Colin Miller skated on his own prior to Saturday’s team practice at Warrior Ice Arena for the second or third time since suffering a lower body injury in the win over the St. Louis Blues. Claude Julien said his presence on the ice was proof that the puck-moving defenseman is “definitely on the mend”, and could be nearing a return to practice soon with Sunday marking the sixth straight game that he’ll have missed.
Kevan Miller is out with a concussion suffered last weekend in the win over the Philadelphia Flyers, and the B’s current three-game losing streak has coincided with his absence from the lineup.
Julien said Miller has actually been away from the team for the last couple of days while dealing with a virus, and that his recovery from the concussion symptoms was good prior to being knocked down by the illness.
“Kevan was actually feeling really well and then he got hit by a virus that’s kept him in bed for the last two days,” said Julien. “It’s nothing to do with his original injury. There was a possibility he could have been ready very soon, but that’s set him back a bit.”
Both are obviously out for Sunday’s matinee against the Penguins, but a return to practice at some point next week seems like a good bet for both players. Here are the line combos and defense pairings from Saturday’s practice with the Bruins focusing on getting a good result in Pittsburgh with the hockey club on a “mom’s trip” with 22 of the players’ mothers traveling with the team to and from the game: