Bruins blast Lightning, 5-0
With most eyes trained on Fenway for ALCS Game 6, the Bruins (5-2-0) turned in their best performance of the young season Saturday: a 5-0 win vs. the Lightning (5-3-0) at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
In two games this season, Boston has beaten Tampa Bay twice and has outscored them 8-1. What’s more, the B’s have won six in a row against the Lightning and 10 out of their last 12 dating back a few seasons. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves for his first shutout of the season and 17th of his career. Boston improved to 3-0-0 on the road this season.
This was basically a perfect game for the Bruins as all four lines produced goals, 12 different guys had points and they took part in three separate fights (involving Gregory Campbell, Adam McQuaid and Jarome Iginla). Five goals represented a season-high and their most lopsided win since March 19, 2012 vs. Toronto. Tampa Bay allowed a goal 1:32 into the contest which should have been a sign for how things would go for them. Milan Lucic drove down the left wing then centered it for David Krejci to tip in.
Boston added three goals in the second period-their best frame of the season. Adam McQuaid’s wrist shot from the point made it 2-0, Patrice Bergeron scored after a great rush by linemates Reilly Smith and Loui Eriksson and then 55 seconds later, Chris Kelly put it out of reach at 4-0. Shawn Thornton broke a 28-game goal-less streak with a snipe (seriously) in the third period. The B’s get a few days off before they wrap up this three-game road trip in Buffalo on Wednesday (8, NBCSN). The Sabres lost 4-2 to the Avalanche Saturday to fall to a putrid 1-8-1.
What they’ll be saying: After missing the first six games of the season with a sprained ankle, Carl Soderberg made his 2013 debut and it was one to remember for the anonymous Swede. Playing on the reconfigured third line with Chris Kelly and Brad Marchand, he had an assist on Kelly’s goal and skated 14:15 on 17 shifts including 2:50 on the power play. He didn’t land a shot on goal but he had a few pretty moves in Tampa Bay’s defensive zone which showed you his potential. McQuaid didn’t seem to let being a healthy scratch on Thursday in Florida affect him too much in a negative way: he scored his first goal in 24 games, had a team-high three hits and won a fight with Nate Thompson after the Lightning forward awkwardly hit him into the boards in garbage time. McQuaid doesn’t get any love around the NHL but the Bruins know how valuable he can be. I’m calling it now in case his family is reading: I bet that backup goaltender Chad Johnson gets his first start of the season on Wednesday against the hapless Sabres. You could ask why sit Rask when he’s playing so well and getting so much rest with a light schedule to begin the season, but Johnson has to play at some point, right?
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat reporter on Twitter: @RichSlate