Boston, MA - The Boston Bruins improved to 11-5-1 this afternoon after shutting out the Tampa Bay Lightning by a final score of 3-0. Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille scored two goals within 20 seconds of one another late in the second period, and Jarome Iginla potted an empty net goal late in the third to seal the victory.
It was the third time this season that the Bruins defeated the Lightning (12-5-0), and the second time that Tuukka Rask earned a shutout against them.
While the defeat snapped a four-game winning streak for Tampa Bay, the loss they suffered after Steven Stamkos left the ice on a stretcher with 7:11 remaining in the second period proved to be the more resounding one.
As the Bruins were attacking the Lightning’s zone, Stamkos was back-checking on Dougie Hamilton when he lost his footing and crashed into the left post, his right leg taking the full force of the collision.
It was confirmed after the game via the Tampa Bay Lightning Twitter account that Stamkos suffered a broken right tibia and is out indefinitely. It was also reported he will undergo surgery tomorrow.
Stamkos is known unanimously as one of the best players in the NHL. He was tied for the league lead in points and goals coming into the game against Boston. So what were the thoughts seeing such a talented and respected player go down?
“Nobody wants to see that happen to anybody,” said Jarome Iginla. “He was obviously in a lot of pain and…for him not to get up, he’s a tough player and plays hard and stuff. So he must have been in some serious pain.”
“Very unfortunate. Nobody likes to see a player be injured and carried off on a stretcher and we’re just hoping that he’s okay. I think that it goes for both teams and every hockey fan,” said Zdeno Chara.
“It kind of scared me I think,” said Dougie Hamilton. “You don’t really expect something like that to happen when you’re just driving the net, but obviously it was pretty unfortunate…just an unfortunate play.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning locker room was sullenly silent after losing the game and their best player. Captain Martin St. Louis was the lone player to address the media.
“It’s a big loss, but you know, we’ve been winning games as a team and we’re going to have to find a way to continue doing that,” he said. “We’re going to have to raise our game collectively. You don’t replace Stammer [Steven Stamkos], but the guys are going to have to step up.”
“It’s obviously tough to see him go down,” said Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper. “Not only for our team, that’s like one of the best players in the world,”
“People come to cheer on the Boston Bruins here, but they also come to see guys like Steven Stamkos play hockey. So it’s a loss for everybody.”
Bruins center Gregory Campbell knows all too well about leg injuries, as he is still in the midst of recovering from the broken fibula he suffered in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. He voiced his well wishes for Stamkos after the game.
“He’s becoming the face of the game now; one of the key faces of the NHL, and you know, an Olympic year – a lot of things that are negative about it for his own personal game; it’s unfortunate,” he said.
“I have a lot of respect for him, but whether it’s him or somebody else, injuries are tough, tough to come back from. It’s definitely a long road and I wish him the best.”