Boston Bruins bring the thunder early, survive late against the Lightning

BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 29: Charlie McAvoy
BOSTON, MA - NOVEMBER 29: Charlie McAvoy /

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask was in need of a win in the worst way.  The Bruins staff showed faith in him, throwing him out against the best team in the league.

After Sunday’s debacle against the Edmonton Oilers, the talk around the Boston Bruins was centered around Tuukka Rask.  Some media personalities in Boston had this “take” that the Bruins don’t play hard for Rask, only Anton Khudobin.  But, after watching tonight’s game, especially the first two periods the Bruins came out firing on all cylinders.

They played strong offensively and defensively and shut down the Lightning for most of this game.  I know it’s one game, but against the NHL’s best, the Bruins weren’t intimidated and showed how dangerous a healthy version of this team can be.  Important to note, they are still missing Krejci, DeBrusk, Bjork, McQuaid.

At the end of November, this is one of the most impressive wins of the season for the Bruins and if they can stay healthy this team can be competitive against any team.  Now onto the game tonight, let’s get on to the review and let it ride.

1st Period

In easily their most dominant period of the season, the Bruins controlled the whole period against one of the best teams in the league.  The whole team was flying around and kept the Lightning hemmed in their defensive zone.  You have to credit the Bruins top line of Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak and the top d-pair in Chara and McAvoy.  They shut down Tampa’s most effective forwards in Stamkos and Kucherov.

The Bruins got on the board first as a blast by Charlie McAvoy blew by Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, but the goal was origianlly waived off for goalie interference.  A challenge by Bruce Cassidy was well timed as the Bruins won the challenge and now have the lead 1-0.  About 10 minutes later, a quick rush by Danton Heinen and Riley Nash lead to an absolute snipe by Riley Nash past Vasilevskiy and gave the Bruins a 2-0 lead after a dominant 1st period.

2nd Period

Looking to continue their great play from the first frame, the Bruins came out strong early in the second.  As both teams were playing 4 on 4, a lazy defensive play by all the Lightning players allowed Ryan Spooner to dance around two Tampa players and he sent a sweet pass over to Torey Krug, who unleashed a howitzer of a shot past Vasilevskiy.

The Bruins were up 3-0 and looking really comfortable.  Tampa Bay got on the board as a point shot by Andrej Sustr sneaked by Rask and cut the Bruins down to 2.  On the Sustr goal, there was a large crowd of players from both teams and it appeared that Rask never saw the shot.

Later in the period, a quick rush by Tyler Johnson almost made it a one goal game.  Somehow after the puck hit the far post, the puck just skated along the goal line but never crossed the line, so no goal.

The Bruins and Rask were lucky the puck didn’t go into the net as Rask was not square in the net and would have been a bad goal to give up.  With under a minute to go in the period, Rask came up huge with a bug stop on a one timed shot by Nikita Kucherov and the Bruins headed into the locker room protecting a 3-1 lead.

3rd period

Just 45 seconds into the period, Brandon Carlo gets called for an interference penalty, and that brings out the extremely dangerous Tampa Bay powerplay.  The Lightning would capitalize as Steven Stamkos is left uncovered at the left faceoff dot and after a pretty cross ice pass by Kucherov, Stamkos has the whole cage to shoot at and he puts it home cutting the Bruins lead to 1.  The Bruins played defense first the rest of the period and it almost cost them in this game.

Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA – NOVEMBER 29: Steven Stamkos /

But late in the game, Tampa pulled the goalie and head some good chances, but Tuukka Rask and the Bruins defense held strong and the Bruins defeat the Eastern Conference leading Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2.

Next: Cassidy shows no controversy in Boston

Quick Shifts

  • David Backes returned 4 WEEKS EARLY from having 10 feet of colon removed and all I can say is he is much tougher than me and you, and the Bruins are glad to have such an important player back in the lineup.
  • Brad Marchand also returned to the lineup after missing 6 games, and he had a very noticeable impact.  He had 2 assists and he will definitely help the Bruins offense and will be a help in every facet of the game.
  • Tuukka Rask made 19 saves and looked impressive doing so.  People may have questioned the decision to start him tonight, but he answered the call and helped lead the Bruins to victory.
  • Matt Beleskey was a healthy scratch tonight as Cassidy went with 11 forwards and 7 defensemen.  I think with this move, Beleskey’s time in Boston is almost up, and I know it was a disappointing run in Boston. I hope he can find another team that will pick him up and give him a shot.