BOSTON – The Bruins had a tall order in front of them taking on the most explosive team in the NHL and doing it with Tuukka Rask in the net. A goaltender that has struggled for the balance of this season. But the Black and Gold surprised as they’ve made a habit of doing at points this season, and made a bold statement in taking out the Lightning in a 3-2 win over the Atlantic Division leaders at TD Garden on Wednesday night.
The B’s were all over the Bolts in the first period while outshooting Tampa Bay by a 19-6 margin, putting a couple of scores on the board against a Lightning team that was slow out of the gate playing on the second night of a back-to-back.
Charlie McAvoy scored his third of the year on a point blast with traffic in front, but the goal was initially called back due to goaltender interference on Brad Marchand. A coach’s challenge overturned the original no-goal call on the ice, and momentum fell in the Bruins direction.
The first goal was followed with a wicked Riley Nash wrist shot that found the back of the net, thanks to a slick set-up from Danton Heinen. The Bruins went into the first intermission rolling with a two-goal lead. The Black and Gold extended their lead to three goals in the second period when D-man Torey Krug smoked a one-timer blast past Andrei Vasilevskiy, after Ryan Spooner dangled though a pair of Tampa defenders before finding the open D-man all alone in the face-off circle. Tampa fought back and scratched for one in the second on an Andrej Sustr blast from the point, but couldn’t get more despite a close call with a Tyler Johnson net drive off the post. Steve Stamkos closed it to a one-goal game in the third on a cross-ice pass from Nikita Kucherov in the opening seconds of the final stanza.
But that was all the Lightning could muster and they would eventually fall to the Bruins. Tampa has now lost four of their last six games in their first slide of the season.
Rask made eight of his 19 saves in the game during the third period protecting a tight one-goal lead, and captured his first win since the beginning of November to push his record up to 4-8-2 on the season. None of the rest of Rask’s 19 stops were as big as his second period leg pad stop on a Kucherov one-time, sweeping wrist shot in the closing seconds of the middle period that would have been a crushing, momentum-shifting score had he not stopped it.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while amazed at what has united Lebron James and Steph Curry in this wacky country of ours.
*Sean Avery has some brutal things to say about John Tortorella in his new “screaming for attention” book, but then again Avery is one of the biggest low-talent dirtbags that the NHL has ever seen. So you probably need to consider the source.
*FOH (Friend of Haggs) John Shannon has a few thoughts on where the NHL needs to go in their relationship with China now that they’ve played preseason games there.
*Pro Hockey Talk has the details as Steven Stamkos stood out in his preseason debut and the first game back from last season’s injury.
*The NHL has yet to determine whether or not Marian Hossa is eligible for LTIR with a skin issue that is expected to be career-ending.
*PK Subban talks about his rule of thumb while staying away from controversy with an active social media account.
*Mark your calendars for the annual Comics Come Home event on Nov. 18 to raise money for the Cam Neely Foundation. Here Neely talks with SI about his friendships with a number of local comics, and how the comedy event became a tradition in Boston.
*For something completely different: Today marks the 40th anniversary of David Bowie’s classic “Heroes”, so it feels like a good time to get the story behind it.
Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while captain’s practices are getting underway around the NHL. It feels like it should be about that time for the Bruins too, doesn’t it?
*Here’s a video of Steven Stamkos doing some edge work while getting ready for training camp with the Tampa Bay Lightning and leaving some of the injury issues behind him.
*Former Boston University standout Clayton Keller is poised and ready for a full season with the Arizona Coyotes after getting a taste at the end of last season.
*According to reports out of Washington, Alex Ovechkin is looking leaner and lighter as the Caps superstar looks to finally vanquish some of the playoff demons that have haunted him during his career. Interesting that Jonathan Toews is getting a little lighter in Chicago as well as it appears more and more players are realizing that the pace is getting picked up across the NHL.
*Old friend Matt Bartkowski has found a home with the Calgary Flames after putting together a pretty decent season with the Vancouver Canucks last year.
*Another veteran player has signed a PTO heading into camp as Tanner Glass will attend Flames camp on a tryout agreement.
*Canucks former first-rounder Brock Boeser is going to get every chance to put the puck in the net for Vancouver this season.
*For something completely different: Evangeline Lilly set fire to the comic book movie geek world on Monday when she tweeted out a picture of herself in the Wasp uniform for the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp movie.