Nearly fourteen minutes had gone by in the Boston Bruins' match with
the Tampa Bay Lightning before Chris Kelly put the first Bruins' shot on
Bolts' netminder Ben Bishop - in between the opening faceoff and that
point in the game came seven Tampa shots on Tuukka Rask and a Shawn
Thornton bout with 6' 6" defenseman Keith Aulie.
no scoring and no discernible momentum shifts either, just a pickup
game with a brief scuffle and a couple of uneventful power plays - and
then the second period happened.
Bruins' Milan Lucic chases the puck in the third period
Just 27 seconds into the middle frame,
Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat's shorthanded goal opened the flood gates, the
Lightning scoring three times in less than 10 minutes of play and the
Bruins twice, turning a scoreless tie at the first intermission into a
brief, dazzling display of offensive firepower...
Boychuk hitting the equalizer midway through the final frame, Rask
stoning all six shots he faced in the shootout - the iron post
stopping the seventh - and Riley Smith ending his 11-game scoring slump
beating Bishop with the game winner as Boston earned the extra point by
beating the Lightning 4-3 in Tampa Bay on Saturday night.
Mark Barbario and Valtteri Filppula scored for the floundering
Lightning, who dropped 13 points behind the Bruins in the Atlantic
Division and to the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race -
while Daniel Paille, Carl Soderberg, Boychuk and Smith found twine for
Boston, who once again climbed to within a point of the
conference-leading Pittsburgh Penguins.
scoreless first period, Tampa took the lead almost immediately after the
second period faceoff, Tyler Johnson picking up a loose puck in the
Bruins' attacking zone in the waning seconds of a Boston power play that
carried over from the opening frame and split the Bruins' defensive
pairing of Dougie Hamilton and Zdeno Chara, prompting Rask to sprint
from the crease to make a play on the puck...
the puck away from Johnson but right to Palat who wristed an easy one
into the open net for a 1-0 Tampa Bay lead - the Lightning making it a
two goal lead less than four minutes later as defenseman Mark Barbario
fired a rocket from the high point that a screened Rask saw at the last
second second and was able to get down on his pads, but the momentum
from the drive helped the puck squirt through Rask's legs.
Bruins were suddenly back on their heels, as it were, until Gregory
Campbell sent an indirect pass to Paille off of the penalty box dashers,
Paille gathering it in and initiating a self pass, fighting through the
Tampa defense to gain possession of the tumbling puck and finally
settling it down as he passed through the low slot moving from Bishop's
glove to stick side, moving the puck to his backhand and flipping the
no-look shot past a shocked Bishop, and the Bruins had life.
more so after Soderberg potted the equalizer a minute-and-a-half later,
pulling in a Chris Kelly pass from the bench-side dashers and breaking
in cleanly toward Bishop, giving the suddenly besieged netminder a
shoulder feign to open up the five hole and the big Swede slid the puck
cleanly between his legs, an exasperated Bishop slumping to his knees.
the tie lasted all of one minute, as Filppula took a beautiful feed
from Palat from the boards off an attacking zone faceoff and easily beat
a surprised Rask from the slot - a 3-2 lead that the Lightning took
into the room at the second intermission.
had the game tied six minutes into the final frame, but while Patrice
Bergeron and Chara were celebrating as Bergeron had jammed the puck
inside Bishop's stick side post, the referee called no joy and whistled
the play dead, disallowing the goal - but Boychuk did even the score at
the eight minute mark with one of his patented "Johnny Rocket" drives
from the high point that Bishop had no chance at stopping.
that point on, the Bruins dominated the ice, the defensemen planting
any Lightning player who tried to get to a puck in the attacking zone by
taking away middle ice and forcing everything to the wings, but Bishop
turned away several Bruins' scoring chances for the last half of the
period, bringing on free hockey...
dominated as well, the brutality of the Bruins' play carrying over into a
furious five minute four-on-four target practice on Bishop, who came up
with stops on four consecutive shots from the slot, sending the game
into the dreaded shootout.
In the shootout, both
goalies turned away the first six shots they faced, Rask stoning the
likes of Filppula, Steven Stamkos and Palat, while Bishop got the best
of Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci and three others - but in the
seventh round Tampa's Richard Panik had Rask beaten but elevated the
puck into the corner of the glove-side crossbar, setting the stage for
Smith's curl and drag dangler giving
Boston their fourth consecutive victory as they now head to Sunshine,
Florida to meet the Panthers on Sunday before heading to Montreal to
face the hated Canadiens on Wednesday.