Bruins return to ice with yet another ‘W,’ beat Tampa Bay
The Bruins haven’t been playing much lately (they’ve had just three games in the past nine days) but they looked as sharp as ever Thursday night, a 4-2 victory at Tampa Bay’s Times Forum.
Boston (10-2-2) won its second straight road game thanks to two goals by Nathan Horton and multiple points from Patrice Bergeron (1 goal, 1 assist), Brad Marchand (1 goal, 1 assist) and Dougie Hamilton (2 assists), not to mention 24 saves by Tuukka Rask (8-1-2).
The Lightning (8-7-1) rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to tie it at two in the second period but Marchand scored the game-winner later that frame and Horton added an insurance goal-his 23rd career two-goal game for him-in the third period. Boston solved its power play woes simply by not having one while their excellent penalty kill continued, holding Tampa Bay’s dangerous power play to 0-for-3 on the man advantage. Lack of a true number one goaltender continues to plague the Lightning unless Anders Lindback (7-4-1) is the answer (unlikely).
The B’s got off to their best start of the season as they led 2-0 after only 3:50. Horton got his first goal at 1:11 after a rebound came to him then Bergeron doubled the lead after great work by Marchand behind Tampa Bay’s goal.
Steven Stamkos’ top shelf missile got the Lightning on the board at 8:13 of the first period. Cory Conacher – a wannabe Marchand – tied it on a two-on-one at 9:00 but less than five minutes later, Marchand scored his team-leading ninth goal of the season. A good bounce came to him and he made the most of it. Horton tipped in Zdeno Chara’s slap pass from the point at 2:33 of the third period to give the B’s another two-goal lead, which this time they didn’t squander.
Boston will go for the snowbird sweep of Florida as they meet the Panthers (5-7-4) on Sunday (3 p.m., NESN). If it’s anything like this game vs. Tampa Bay, they can count on two things: a crowd made up mostly of transplanted Bruins fans and choppy ice conditions in the Florida heat. The Panthers won 5-2 in Philadelphia tonight but don’t let that fool you: they are a mess. Their goal-differential is an NHL-worst -18 on the season.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter:@RichSlate