Bruins Top Lightning in Fight Filled Heavyweight Tilt

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 29: The Boston Bruins against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden on March 29, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 29: The Boston Bruins against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden on March 29, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Goals were scored, punches were thrown, and in the end, the Bruins are atop the Eastern Conference.

In a game that was full of playoff-like intensity, the Bruins and Lightning played an incredibly entertaining game that had something for everyone.  Big goals, huge hits, super saves, and even a few brawls highlighted a potential 2nd round playoff matchup.

Period 1:

Both teams traded early pressure, with Tampa Bay getting the better chances and more shots on goal.  The Bolts had an early 4-1 shot advantage.  After those 3 minutes though, the Bruins took control.  Boston had some great chances, but they were saved by Vasilevskiy to keep the game knotted at 0.  The Bruins would head to the powerplay after Brayden Point was called for a holding penalty.  While the powerplay was unsuccessful, the Bruins got more good looks on goal, but still no score.  A few minutes later, Kevan Miller was whistled for high sticking, and the Bruins were shorthanded.  Boston killed off the penalty without allowing a shot on goal.

With 1 minute remaining in the period, a turnover by the Lightning in their defensive zone resulted in a Tommy Wingels’ shot.  The original attempt was stopped, but the puck dropped into the crease, where Timmy Schaller tapped the loose puck past Vasilevskiy to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead late in the period.  Before the period was over, Tampa took another penalty.  This time the Bruins made them pay.  David Pastrnak’s shot from the left circle beat Vasilevskiy to double the B’s with under a minute to go in the first period.  The only question was who would get credit for the goal.  Originally credited to Ryan Donato on a deflection, the goal was given to Pastrnak as the puck was tipped by Ryan McDonagh, not Ryan Donato.  After 20 minutes, the Bruins would lead 2-0 with goals from Schaller and Pastrnak and with a shot advantage of 16-6.

Period 2:

Tampa Bay came out much more aggressive in the middle stanza.  Brian Gionta was called for boarding just 1:18 into the period.  The Lightning were in control of the powerplay and eventually cashed in to cut the lead in half.  A great slap pass from Nikita Kucherov found J.T. Miller at the back post and he tapped the puck into the empty net for Tampa’s opening goal.  Tampa Bay kept the pressure on which resulted in their third powerplay of the game.  But, the Bruins were able to kill this penalty off, again without allowing a shot on goal.

After the penalty kill, my favorite moment of the season happened.  Cory Conacher and Brandon Carlo went crashing into Tuukka Rask, and Rask took exception.  Tuukka and Conacher traded blows and a huge brawl ensued.  Vasilevskiy even skated the length of the ice and we were so close to a goalie fight.  Goalie fights are the BEST!

After the brawl concluded, the Bruins headed to the powerplay.  They did not score on the powerplay, and almost gave up a shorthanded break, but Torey Krug was able to get back quickly and somehow stop Tampa’s equalizing chance.  Late in the second, the bolts went on another powerplay, which the Bruins were able to kill off.  The second frame ended with Tampa Bay dominating stretches of the period, as the Bruins only managed 3 shots on goal, but still up on the scoreboard 2-1.

Period 3:

In the final 20 minutes, we had a one-goal game, with the top spot in the East up for grabs.  Tampa Bay believed they had tied the game up, but it was quickly waved off due to goalie interference.  During a commercial break, Tampa would challenge the call of no goal, and the call on the ice stood.  After a big hit on Patrice Bergeron at center ice by Dan Girardi, David Pastrnak and Girardi dropped the gloves.  This scrap was Pasta’s first fight in his NHL career.  Another scuffle ensued a few minutes after between David Backes and Cedric Paquette.  Both teams played four vs four in the next two minutes.  While 4 v 4, Rask made a spectacular lunging left pad save to keep it a one-goal game.  After the save, the Bruins went down the ice, and after some terrific passing between Marchand and Krug, Bergeron fired home Boston’s third marker of the night.  Right after Bergeron’s goal, Tampa would once again cut into the Bruins lead as Victor Hedman’s shot squeaked through Rask.  Hedman’s shot is definitely one Rask should have stopped, but it didn’t cost them tonight.

Late in the game, Tampa Bay pulled Vasilevskiy looking for the equalizer, but after some great passing between the first line, Marchand deposited the puck into the unguarded cage for a 4-2 lead.  Before the final horn sounded, one final brawl occurred in the Bruins defensive zone to seal the Bruins 4-2 win over the Lightning.

Short Shifts:

  • David Pastrnak got his first Gordie Howe Hat Trick tonight after fighting Dan Girardi
  • Brandon Carlo lead the team with 23:47 TOI and arguably played his best game in months tonight.  Plus, his offensive game has slowly been getting better and it showed on the Bruins third goal, as he lead the rush into the zone.
  • I love the aggressive, fight-loving, emotion showing Tuukka Rask