Recap: Horton scores two as Bruins best Bolts
It didn’t take long for the Bruins to get on the board last night. In its first shift, Boston’s top line set the pace as it carried the puck through the neutral zone with plenty of speed, gaining the offensive zone. Tampa Bay’s defenseman Victor Hedman quickly intercepted the puck, but couldn’t make a clear. Rookie Dougie Hamilton jumped into the play and fired a low slap shot on Anders Lindback who made the first save. The goaltender couldn’t handle the rebound, however, and Nathan Horton skated around the net and scored from the left faceoff circle.
This was the beginning of the B’s hard fought battle with the Lightning. Boston blocked shots left and right and got gritty when it needed to, winning many battles low in the corners. The team dealt with the bouncing pucks and did exactly what it needed to in order to win.
Boston came out with a noticeable jump, and the team made the most of that off the bat. The Bruins not only set the tone with some strong early play, but they also cashed in on their opportunities.
The Bruins won their tenth game of the season as they defeated the Lightning 4-2 on Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Boston led 2-0 within the first five minutes of the game, but gave up its lead in the second period. However, the B’s quickly redeemed themselves as they responded with two goals for the win.
Just two minutes after Horton’s first goal, Patrice Bergeron scored his third of the season as he was set up by Brad Marchand. The puck was dumped deep into the zone and Marchand forechecked hard, eventually gaining control. The forward carried the puck behind the net and found an open Bergeron in the right slot who beat Lindback on his short side to give Boston the 2-0 lead.
Boston strived to keep up its momentum, but a momentary lapse in the defensive zone cost the B’s a goal. Lighting forward Teddy Purcell outmuscled defenseman Hamilton in front of the net just long enough to gain control of the puck. Purcell dropped it back to Steven Stamkos who ripped a wrist shot from the top of the slot over the glove of Tuukka Rask.
As expected, the Lightning came out aggressively in the second period and were able to get a few shots on Boston’s netminder. Halfway through the second period, the B’s lead was gone as Tampa Bay rookie Cory Conacher beat Rask with a wrister from the left side.
Bruins’ forward Marchand put Boston back in the lead, scoring his ninth goal of the season, off a rebound from Tyler Seguin. The puck bounced right to Marchand and he unleashed a snap shot over Lindback’s shoulder.
Time and time again this season, the Bruins’ penalty kill has been able to withstand the charge from the opponent. The B’s kill came up big throughout the game and the team now boasts a record of 17 consecutive killed penalties and lead the league in a 94.4 kill percentage.
The Bruins added an insurance goal just three minutes into the third. David Krejci kept the play alive in the offensive zone and worked the puck back to the point to Hamilton. The defenseman slid it across the point to Zdeno Chara, who directed a slap shot toward the net to Horton. The forward deflected the puck home as he scored his second goal of the night.
Thursday’s match-up between the Bruins and Lightning was the first of three for the year and the game was nothing short of excitement. Both teams played aggressively and the B’s took advantage of opportunities they were presented. Last season the two teams split their four game series in half, so expect tough competition ahead as both teams will face off again on March 2 at the TD Garden.