It was a great game for the Marco Sturm-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi line as the trio combined for eight points. Still, a lot of credit should be given to Tim Thomas, who rebounded nicely from a rough performance in Saturday’s 4-3 shootout win over Ottawa. Thomas made 39 saves to earn his seventh win of the season and really set the tone early. The Lightning outshot the Bruins 40-39, but it was the Bruins who seemed in control all night and got the win to catapult over Buffalo back into first place in the division.
Thanks for joining us here for our Live Bruins Blog at NESN.com.
Third period, 0:28, Bruins 4-1: Steve Begin is off to the box for interference and Tampa Bay is on its fifth power play. They’re 0-for-5 so far.
Third period, 3:40, Bruins 4-1: The Bruins just got called for having too many men on the ice. The Lightning are on their fifth power play and are 0-for-4 to this point.
Of course, that penalty call is how the Bruins lost that infamous 1979 playoff game in Montreal and, ironically, how the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL just won the Grey Cup (the CFL Super Bowl), courtesy of a too-many-men-on-the-field call that allowed them to get a retry of the winning field goal. Montrealers must love that call!
Third period, 5:12, Bruins 4-1: The Bruins fail to score on the power play and are now 1-for-3.
Tim Thomas is playing against his good friend and college teammate from the University of Vermont, Martin St. Louis. Thomas said this morning they remain good friends except on the ice, as both are very competitive.
Third period, 8:35, Bruins 4-1: The No. 2 pick overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Victor Hedman, is in the box for hooking and the Bruins are on their third power play of the night. They’re 1-for-2.
Third period, 9:11, Bruins 4-1: The Bruins can take sole possession of first place in the Northeast Division and third place in the Eastern Conference with two points tonight. Buffalo, a point ahead of the Bruins, is idle.
Third period, 11:30, Bruins 4-1: I spoke to some scouts sitting behind the net in which Marco Sturm scored the questionable goal. And they said Sturm did, indeed, tip the puck in from their view. So I was wrong, it appears, and Mark Recchi doesn’t get the goal. But that line is on fire either way!
Third period, 18:33, Bruins 4-1: We’re underway in the final frame here. Jeff Halpern just ended the shutout for Tim Thomas. Halpern knocked in his own rebound past Thomas. Steve Downie and Ryan Malone got the helpers.
The Bruins killed off the remaining 32 seconds of the Steve Begin penalty from the end of the second period.
End of second period, Bruins 4-0: The Bruins are being outshot 27-22, but they’re leading 4-0 after two periods of play thanks to the sensational play of the Marco Sturm-Patrice Bergeron-Mark Recchi line that has combined for eight points.
Second period, 1:10, Bruins 1-0: Steve Begin is in the penalty box for high-sticking and Tampa is on it’s fourth power play. They’re 0-for-3.
Second period, 3:51, Bruins 4-0: That was definitely Marco Sturm! Sturm takes a beautiful one-time feed from Patrice Bergeron and buries it past Mike Smith. Mark Recchi had the secondary assist.
Bergeron has one goal and two assists now, Recchi has three assists and Sturm has two goals.
Second period, 6:24, Bruins 3-0: Marco Sturm has scored his seventh goal of the season to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead, but credit for that tally may be changed to Mark Recchi upon further review.
Recchi kept poking away at goalie Mike Smith, knocked the puck loose and appeared to put it in the net. But for now, it is Sturm from Recchi and Patrice Bergeron.
Second period, 9:56, Bruins 2-0: Vladimir Sobotka is in the penalty box for delay of game. The Lightning are 0-for-2 tonight on the power play.
Talking to some former teammates of Marc Savard from his Calgary and Rangers days, I found that they’re amazed at the player and person he has become.
One player described Savard as “a kid with a lot of talent that we had to knock sense into.” But according to them he has really come a long way and deserves a lot of credit. They were very happy for him.
Second period, 10:56, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins are 7-0-0 when leading by two goals at any point in a game this season.
Second period, 13:56, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins failed to score on that power play and are now 1-for-2.
Second period, 16:17, Bruins 2-0: Matt Walker is in the penalty box for holding and the Bruins are on their second power play. They’re 1-for-1 tonight.
Second period, 18:06, Bruins 2-0: We’re underway here in the second period. Let’s see if the Bruins can keep the pedal to the metal and get another goal on what appears to be a listless Tampa squad right now.
End of first period, Bruins 2-0: The Bruins lead by two here after the first period and apparently listened to their coach who earlier today told them not to take this Lightning team lightly.
Tim Thomas looks a lot more comfortable than he did Saturday when he let in two goals on the first four shots. Thomas has 16 saves thus far.
Also, it was a superb period for Zdeno Chara, who did a great job of getting that shot to the net, the one that Patrice Bergeron knocked home for the second goal.
First period, 1:28, Bruins 2-0: Mark Recchi is in the box for high-sticking and the Lightning are on their second power play. They’re 0-for-1 tonight and 0-for-8 over their last four periods of play.
First period, 5:57, Bruins 2-0: Patrice Bergeron gives the Bruins a two-goal lead, knocking in the rebound of a Zdeno Chara blast from the point.
Mark Recchi got the other helper on the goal. Looks like Bergeron’s leg injury is just fine.
First period, 11:55, Bruins 1-0: Marc Savard is having quite a day. After signing his new seven-year deal, Savard gives the Bruins a 1-0 lead with his 200th career goal.
Savard took a feed from Derek Morris, went behind the net and scored on a sneaky backhander off the skate of Lightning goalie Mike Smith from behind the net. Zdeno Chara got the secondary assist.
The goal was also a power-play goal, Savard’s fifth of the season and his first since returning to the lineup on Nov. 23. He has a four-game point streak going.
First period, 12:36: Vincent Lecavalier is in the sin bin for tripping and the Bruins are going on their first power play. They successfully killed off the Tampa power play and the Lightning are 0-for-1 so far.
First period, 14:46: Shawn Thornton is in the penalty box for tripping and the Lightning are on their first power play.
First period, 16:06: The Bruins will definitely be keeping an eye on No. 91 Steven Stamkos, while the Lightning will be watching No. 91 on the Bruins, the $28 million man. Here are tonight’s starting lines:
Blake Wheeler–Marc Savard–Byron Bitz
Marco Sturm–Patrice Bergeron–Mark Recchi
Vladimir Sobotka–David Krejci–Michael Ryder
Shawn Thornton–Steve Begin–Daniel Paille
Zdeno Chara–Derek Morris
Andrew Ference–Dennis Wideman
Mark Stuart–Matt Hunwick
Ryan Malone–Steven Stamkos–Marty St. Louis
Alex Tanguay–Vinny Lecavalier–Jeff Halpern
James Wright–Paul Szczechura–Steve Downie
Kurtis Foster–Zenon Konopka–Stephane Veilleux
Mattias Ohlund–Andrej Meszaros
Victor Hedfman–Lukas Krajicek
First period, 19:38: We’re underway here in the first period. Lineups to follow shortly.
1:55 p.m.: Greetings from the TD Garden, where the Bruins and Lightning just wrapped up their game-day skates.
Obviously the biggest news today came from the news conference with Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and newly-extended Marc Savard, as the club announced Savvvy’s new seven-year deal. But there was some other news coming out of the Bruins dressing room. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk was assigned to Providence on a conditioning stint. Head coach Claude Julien said this morning that this has nothing to do with Boychuk’s work ethic or play, but rather a chance for him to play some games.
“We sent him down because he hasn’t played in a while and it was important for us to give him a chance to play and he really wanted that as well,” Julien said.
The lines from our Facing Off preview appear to be the same for the Bruins. Tim Thomas was the first off the ice this morning so it appears as though he will get his second straight start tonight.
On the Tampa side, there may be some switches on the blue line as head coach Rick Tocchet was alternating his defensive pairings. We’ll let you know prior to game time.
Julien cautioned reporters not to overlook this Tampa team. Behind the strong play of budding superstar Steven Stamkos, they are an improved squad from last season.
“This is a team that I’ve found really improved a lot,” Julien said. “They are very well structured this year. I think Rick has done a great job in grabbing the team and really molding it the way he’s wanted to mold them and they’ve brought good speed. They’re a hard-working team, they’ve got great goaltending and defensively obviously a lot tougher to play against.”
We’ll have more on the Bruins and Lightning as we approach game time so be sure to check back here.