In the case of the Boston Bruins, lightning does strike twice–pardon the pun.
Before five minutes of the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning had elapsed, the Bruins were already up two goals thanks to Nathan Horton and Patrice Bergeron, both of whom have performed well against Tampa Bay in the past. Horton’s first goal of the evening came at exactly one minute and 11 seconds into the game, too, which is just a neat little time-related tidbit.
In another very low-penalty game–there were just three called throughout the whole game, one a period, much like the penalty-free game 7 of the 2011 Eastern Conference Final–one of the three infractions was handed out to Dougie Hamilton. Now he’s crossed off another milestone in his young career as a Bruin: his first penalty.
The good news is that even though all three of those infractions were called against Boston, the team’s penalty kill was strong as always. Right now, the Bruins are able to kill 94.4 percent of their penalties and lead the league in this aspect. So, while their power play remains weak, at least they’re able to keep things together when the other team has a man advantage.
Sometimes, you have to have one less than ideal thing happen quickly and get it out of the way, which may be the strategy the Bruins employed by allowing Steven Stamkos to get one at eight minutes into the first. Stamkos would later assist on the game-tying goal from young Cory Conacher, but that was all he wrote for the night.
While Bruins fans bemoaned the team’s apparent inability to hold and expand upon a lead, Brad Marchand went to work and advanced his status as the team’s leading goal-scorer by putting away his ninth of the season. Tyler Seguin, who had his big debut against the Lightning in the 2011 playoffs and helped out on Marchand’s goal, tried at one point to score too, but missed. I’d like to see the guy try harder because I feel like he can definitely do more than he has done so far, but at least Marchand is doing good things and doing them often.
Early on in the third period, Horton scored, giving the Bruins a two-goal cushion and easing the pressure slightly. Later, the team tried their best to give him the puck when Tampa Bay had pulled Anders Lindback, but though Horton tried at least twice, he just couldn’t manage to get that hat trick.
Speaking of goalies, Tuukka Rask was pretty strong for most of the game and earned appreciative hoots of “TUUK!” from the members of Bruins Nation Southeast who were in attendance. However, I’d say that the Conacher goal was a little weak on his part and sometimes he got to wandering outside of his net, which can test the nerves of any hockey fan. A friend of mine gave me sage advice to trust that he’s wandering out for a reason, a very Zen-like approach.
Still, the Bruins got two points when they really need as many points as they can get to play catch-up in the Eastern Conference. They were able to play with a lead, even if they eventually lost it and had to regain it. Overall, it was a pretty good game.
Now we must wait a few more days before their next game, when they travel down to sunny Sunrise, Fla. and face the Florida Panthers on Feb. 24 at 3 p.m.