B’s blank Lightning 2-0
Final Score: Boston Bruins 2, Tampa Bay Lightning 0
The Bruins are at their best when they play with an edge. The Bruins know it. Their opponents know it. But for the better part of a month and half, that edge has been missing. For the first time in a long time, the Bruins provided a full 60-minute effort with a 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Thursday night.
Tuukka Rask made 30 saves and earned his fifth shutout of the season as the Bruins rebounded from Tuesday’s forgettable performance in Philadelphia. Dennis Seidenberg and Daniel Paille scored for the Bruins, who looked like a completely different team than the version that lost 5-2 to the Flyers on Tuesday. Boston played solid two-way hockey throughout, exhibiting more purpose and intensity.
- The game was originally scheduled for Feb. 9, but postponed because of the blizzard that shut down the Northeast and left more than 2 feet of snow in some areas. The B’s swept the three games against the Lightning in the shortened season.
- The Lightning were a great threat as Martin St. Louis entered the game leading the NHL with 58 points and teammate Steven Stamkos in a tie for second with 56, but both were shut down as neither recorded a point.
- The Bruins were 1-4-1 in their last six before defeating the Lightning and maintaining control of their own destiny in the race for first place in the Northeast Division. The Bruins and Montreal Canadiens are tied with 61 points. The Bruins have two games left, while the Canadiens have just one.
Players of the Game:
- Tuukka Rask was a significant factor in the Bruins’ much-needed shutout. He was at his sharpest in the second period, when he made back-to-back kickouts on Alex Killorn, on top of his glove save on Stamkos.
- Milan Lucic While he didn’t score a goal, Lucic continued to increase his physical presence and also fought Lightning defenseman Keith Aulie 17:22 into the second period. Since being a healthy scratch last Saturday, Lucic has been skating harder and seems to be playing with an edge again.
Quote of the Game:
“I thought our guys played hard tonight,” coach Claude Julien said. “I’m not looking for perfection; I’m looking for reaction. Overall, we played hard. We moved the puck quickly, and when there was a breakdown Tuukka [Rask] was there to make the big saves. I was pretty happy with the game. I know if we keep playing that way, it’ll only get better.”
In order to win the Northeast Division, Boston needs another strong push this weekend in its two remaining games. Either way, they’ve secured home-ice advantage for the first round and will finish either second or fourth in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins (28-13-5) will travel to Washington on Saturday to face off against the Capitals (26-18-3) for the two teams’ third and final game against each other in the regular season. The puck will drop at 7:00 p.m. at the Verizon Center. Boston will return home on Sunday to host the Ottawa Senators (24-16-6) at TD Garden at 7:00 p.m.