The NHL leading Tampa Bay Lightning came into the TD Garden this evening, boasting the leagues best record. That did not matter, as the Bruins absolutely outplayed the Lightning from start to finish (out shooting them 41-21) in a 4-1 victory. The Bruins were on the front foot from the outset, and like I mentioned in my preview, they needed to be. The Bruins brought a heavy forecheck and absolutely blanketed the Tampa’s top guns. Kucherov, Stamkos and Point were invisible and that really speaks to the teams ability to buy in of late. The Bruins now have points in 15 straight games.
A big key to the Bruins success tonight was the continued great play of the Bruins fourth line. Kuraly, Wagner and Acciari are not only getting it done by shutting down opposing teams top lines, but they have become a puck possession force for Cassidy’s Bruins. If the fourth line can continue to match up against opposing teams best players, it really free’s up the Bergeron line to do damage. That’s exactly what they did tonight, with Bergeron and Marchand both tickling the twine. Jake Debrusk also stayed red hot, scoring his 7th goal in 8 games (21st on the season)
Charlie Coyle and David Backes both looked to have an extra jump in their step tonight, and that Boston Bruins third line are showing their worth. Their play has given them the best couple game stretch the coaching staff has seen from the third line this season. If the Boston Bruins are going to be able to compete with a Tampa Bay or a Toronto in a playoff series, they have to continue to play this in your face, on the gas pedal style. The Bruins closed out February with an impressive 11-0-2 record. The last time they did that…2011 and we all know what happened in the summer of 2011.
There were a couple negatives during this game for the Bruins. Sean Kuraly exited the game, and Brandon Carlo made his way down the tunnel after taking a big hit. Carlo is a very important player for the Bruins, and he’ll be needed as the Bruins continue their push to the playoffs. Even though each team was missing a key piece from the lineup (Pastrnak injured, Vasilevskiy played Wednesday), the message was sent. The Bruins are not afraid to play anyone. You can’t help but drool at the thought of a 7-game series between these two rivals