The Bruins looked much more like themselves Thursday night at TD Garden as they secured home ice in the first round of the playoffs with a 2-0 win over the Lightning. In the division race, Boston and Montreal both have 61 points but the Bruins have two games remaining this weekend while the Canadiens have just one. The winner of the Northeast Division will receive the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Tuukka Rask (30 saves; 19-9-4) tied a career-high with his fifth shutout of the season while Dennis Seidenberg and Daniel Paille provided the goals for Boston (28-13-5). Tampa Bay (18-25-4) had nothing to do but play spoiler and they couldn’t even get that right. Granted, Rask made some spectacular stops including a glove save where he robbed Steven Stamkos.
There was not one but two fights as Andrew Ference and ex-Bruin Benoit Pouliot dropped the gloves in the first period then Milan Lucic and Keith Aulie followed suit in the second period. By that time, the B’s had potted both their goals as Seidenberg scored on a blast from the point and Paille had a one-timer from Gregory Campbell that went in the net.
Boston travels to Washington (26-18-3) on Saturday night (7 p.m., NESN) then hosts Ottawa (24-16-6) in the regular season finale on Sunday night (7:30 p.m., NESN). The Capitals clinched the Southeast Division Thursday so they’ll have nothing to play for in their final game of the regular season.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate