GOLD STAR: Torey Krug had a radically up-and-down game in the Sunday loss to the Edmonton Oilers, and clearly entered Wednesday night’s game aiming to be a difference-maker. Krug finished by scoring the game-winning goal in the second period, led the Bruins with a game-high seven shots on net and had eight shot attempts and a couple of blocked shots in 17:42 of ice time. Even better Krug managed to stay out of any big trouble in the defensive zone and avoided any turnovers in a high-paced, back-and-forth game against the Lightning. Krug has only been back for a couple of games after missing time with an injury, but on Wednesday night he looked like a player trending toward the top of his game with heavy involvement in the offensive zone.
BLACK EYE: Nikita Kucherov is one of the top scorers in the NHL along with Steven Stamkos, and he’s been brilliant in the first couple of months with Tampa Bay. But on Wednesday night he finished with just a single shot on net and a minus-2 while clearly not enjoying very good skating legs. His one and only chance in the game was a sweeping one-timer attempt at the end of the second period, and it was a very good scoring opportunity. However, Tuukka Rask was able to make the stop on Kucherov’s scoring attempt and that was it for the Hart Trophy hopeful.
TURNING POINT: The Bruins seized this game early on and outshot the Tampa Bay Lightning by a 19-5 margin. They also scored two first period goals and imposed their will on the Bolts. It was a positive for the Bruins to get the goal from Charlie McAvoy midway through the period, and see it count after a phantom Brad Marchand goalie interference call almost cost them. It could have been a boost for Tampa to get through the rest of a period down by just a single goal after being dominated, but a Riley Nash wrist shot toward the end of the period created a lead the Bruins would never surrender. As it turned out, the strong start was enough to carry them to victory for the most part.
HONORABLE MENTION: It’s got to be Tuukka Rask, who only made 19 saves but came up with the big time stops to maintain momentum in the game. Rask stopped 14-of-16 shots in the final two periods, in addition to stoning a Nikita Kucherov rocket toward the end of the middle period that kept the Bruins ahead of the Bolts. Even if the Finnish goaltender downplayed it, it’s pretty clear that Wednesday night was a massive step forward for him if he wanted to hold onto the No. 1 goaltender spot with the B's. Rask went out and did his job in solid, workmanlike fashion, and that’s all the Bruins are looking from their main puck-stopper.
BY THE NUMBERS: 28:11 – the game-high ice time total for Charlie McAvoy, who was very strong while scoring Boston’s first goal. He finished with an important multi-point effort in a very strong showing for the rookie D-man.
QUOTE TO NOTE: “I don’t think we saw their best game, but we definitely were ready and excited to play them. We want to continue to get better and I think we’ve done it, the last little bit. You’re really seeing guys come into their own and really step up. We need that going forward.” –Brad Marchand, liked what he saw in the win over Tampa Bay after he returned to the lineup from injury.