The Boston Bruins went to Florida with a mediocre 3-2-0 record. They knew they needed four points to help the climb in the standings and shake off the malaise that looked to be settling in with the team. The Bruins did secure two points in their 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers (and Tim Thomas), but it was a sloppy win that could have gone the other way if not for the actions of Tuukka Rask.
Dougie Hamilton summed up before the game what needed to happen for Boston. “We need to play better than we did in Florida, and to play, a cliché 60-minute game. We really need to keep working and keep pressuring teams and keep being relentless.” Head Coach Claude Julien had lamented on the lackluster win. “We talked about that after last game and I didn’t feel that we were committed. Like I said, going to the net hard and those kind of things. Even defensively, little lapses.”
The Bruins made up for that performance in Sunrise with an effort that stunned Tampa Bay. Twelve different members of the Black and Gold rose up to score points for the Boston Bruins in a solid 5-0 shellacking (and their second straight win) of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The only forward not to put up a point was Gregory Campbell, and he can be excused for that by putting up a very spirited match with B.J. Crombeen. Adam McQuaid and Jarome Iginla would also put up five for fighting majors during the game.
The Krejci line put up the first goal of the night just ninety two seconds in the game, with a great shot on goal from David Krejci. The Bruins never looked back. The second period saw the Bruins open up on Ben Bishop who was pulled near the end of the period after being scored on by Adam McQuaid (his first of the season), Patrice Bergeron, and Chris Kelly.
“The only thing good about tonight was, probably, the national anthem,” coach Jon Cooper said afterwards.
Shawn Thornton finished out the scoring for the Bruins with his one-timer on back up goaltender Anders Lindback a mere thirty four seconds into the third. It was his first goal of the season as well.
The Bruins played like the Bruins. They were strong on the defense, they employed solid rushes, and they covered their zones. It was great to see all four lines of the Bruins contribute to their strongest win of the season to date.
“Today is probably our best all-around game.” offered Adam McQuaid postgame. “We did have our breakdowns at times and Tuukka was there like he normally is to bail us out, and it’s always nice to be able to see him get a shutout. There are a lot of games that he played extremely well, you know, he gives us a chance to win every night, so it’s nice to see him get rewarded that way.”
Rask stopped everything that came his way, including a very nice shot made by Steven Stamkos in the middle of the third period. Rask earned his first shutout of the season, and the seventeenth in his career. Rask’s average has climbed to a 5-2-0, with an outstanding 1.29 goals against, and a .954 save percentage. Rask was clearly hands down the first star of the night, and impressed everyone. The Bruins move up to a tie for second with the Lightning in the Atlantic Division with tonight’s win. The Bruins get a few days off before their next game against the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday.