BOSTON — The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning both entered Thursday riding 14-game point streaks. But when push came to shove as the Atlantic Division rivals clashed at TD Garden, it was the B’s who managed to keep theirs rolling.
Thanks to a three-goal third period, the Black and Gold cruised to a 4-1 win over the NHL-leading Bolts, who hadn’t suffered a regulation loss since Jan. 30.
While things didn’t get out of hand until the final frame, Boston controlled the contest from wire-to-wire, outshooting the visitors by a 32-9 margin through the first two periods. Goaltender Louis Domingue (37 saves) kept the Lightning in it for as long as he could, but the Bruins’ offense only could be kept in check for so long.
Tuukka Rask posted 20 saves to earn his seventh win in his last eight games.
With the victory, the Bruins improved to 38-17-9, while the Lightning dropped to 49-12-4.
Neither team was able to light the lamp in the first period, but the opening frame certainly did not lack excitement.
The tone was set from the get-go, as David Backes and Adam Erne dropped the gloves less than three minutes into the game. The contest remained heavy from there, as the rest of the period featured quite a few confrontations, including a pair involving Zdeno Chara.
Tampa Bay struggled early on the second leg of its road back-to-back, registering just four shots on target. Boston, meanwhile, had a number of quality chances, but its 17 shots on goal were all for naught.
DeBRUSK STAYS HOT
Jake DeBrusk entered Thursday tallying 11 points in his last seven games, and the second-year winger continued his torrid pace in the second period to put the Bruins on the board first.
With Boston on the power play nearing the halfway point of the frame, Torey Krug zipped an outlet pass to DeBrusk, who was camped out all alone along the boards at the blue line. After taking a few strides toward net, the 22-year-old launched a wrister that managed to eat up Domingue and give Boston a 1-0 lead.
For what it’s worth, Rask earned his second assist of the season on DeBrusk’s goal.
The Bolts were lucky to get out of the second facing just a one-goal deficit, as the B’s dominated play for the second straight period. Domingue was forced to do quite a bit of lunging and diving amid the Bruins’ active frame, but the Bolts netminder found a way to deny 14 of the home team’s 15 shots on net.
THRICE IS NICE
It only was a matter of time before the Bruins’ efforts were rewarded.
Not long after the halfway point of the third period, Noel Acciari boosted the Bruins’ lead to 2-0 with a gritty goal. After Acciari’s strong puck retrieval allowed Chris Wagner to garner possession, the fourth-line center parked himself in front of the net and cleaned up the rebound off a Wagner shot.
Boston found itself up 3-0 just 45 seconds later. This time around it was the first line, as Danton Heinen found Patrice Bergeron all alone in the slot, and the veteran center zipped a shot through Domingue’s five-hole for his 22nd goal of the season.
The rout was fully on less than a minute later, as Brad Marchand scored on a breakaway to swell Boston’s advantage to 4-0.
Anthony Cirelli responded for the Bolts not long after, but it was far too little, too late.
The Bruins’ homestand continues Saturday night with a matchup against the New Jersey Devils. Puck drop from TD Garden is set for 7 p.m. ET.
This Bruins Wrap is presented by Plainridge Park Casino.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports