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Game Day: Lightning vs. Bruins

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
Third Period: The Tampa Bay Lightning came into the third period down three goals. But that didn’t stop them from putting on the pressure up until the very last minute of play, only to come up short in tonight’s contest.

About 12 minutes into the final period of play, Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos rushed the net and put a rebounded shot over Bruins goaltender Manny Fernandez to put the Lightning within striking distance.

The last-second, empty-net bid came up short, however, as the Bruins definitively put away the Florida team 3-1.

0:00 - Another win.

1:53 - Chara just missed on the back door...

3:27 - B's back on the power play.

3:39 - Good kill.

5:41 - Kobasew is in the box.

7:02 - Hold on Welch. B's are 2/4 on the PP.

7:53 - Steve Stamkos ends the shutout possibility for Fernandez.

12:50 - McKenna held on to a puck that meandered into his crease. Shots are 30-23, B's.

14:41 - Big hit for Bergy on Matt Lashoff.

17:17 - Another one. His 20th. Fernandez has played very well.

17:59 - Save Fernandez. That's his 19th.

19:38 - Both Bergeron and Kobasew came very close to scoring the B's fourth goal.

20:00 - Start of the Third. B's start on the PP.
Second Period: During the middle stanza, the Bruins scored a goal that counted followed closely with one that didn’t.

At 13:04, Zdeno Chara popped a power play point up and over McKenna to put the Bruins up two. Linemate Patrice Bergeron set up the B’s captain with a goal-line pass through the crease, where Chara had parked himself.

Chara would close out the period with one more point, an assist on another power play goal – this time credited to Chuck Kobasew at 15:35.

The lone trouble spot for the Bruins tonight has manifested itself as the disallowed goal. At 12:34, P.J. Axelsson pounded one past McKenna, the goal horn sounded, the fans cheered and then a goaltender inference penalty on Blake Wheeler was realized.

And on the subject of pounding, a couple of major altercations broke out in earnest toward the end of the 20-minute skate that saw Byron “Bitzy-Cat” Bitz pounce on Tampa Bay’s Richard Petiot and Milan Lucic’s one-punch knockout of Lightning defenseman Josef Melichar.

Shots for the period are 23-18 in favor of the home team.

0:00 - End of the Second. Boston is in control.

11.2 - Lucic just TKO'd Josef Melichar. One punch. Out on his feet. You'll see that on Youtube. Lucic got five. And Melichar got an extra couple for elbowing -- which, I suppose, explains when Milan punched poor Josef so hard. Ouch!

1:01 - McKenna stops the latest Boston big and holds on with Bergy on the doorstep.

2:46 - Save Manny -- this time on St. Louis.

3:39 - Poor Richard Petiot. Mr. Bitz just rearranged his face, I think. Hunwick is in the box for Boston, high sticking. Bitzy got 5-minutes for fighting (and so did Petiot).

4:26 - Nice split save on Halpern by Fernandez -- his best of the night.

6:25 - Kobasew scores. The shot came from Chara. When Chuck tipped it, the shot knocked the stick out of his hand. Give the other assist to Krejci.

6:44 - Petiot in the box for Tampa. B's back on the power play.

8:06 - Wideman broke up a breakaway with a hip check (sans stick).

10:46 - McKenna's turn. He has 15 assists.

11:39 - Fernandez with another save. He has 11.

12:34 - Wheeler to the box. Goaltender interference. That negated a B's goal for Axelsson and I did not see the infraction.

13:04 - Boston scores. Chara back door. Nice pass Bergy. 2-0, B's. Give the other assist to Krejci.

13:29 - Artyukhin in the box.

13:35 - Kobasew hit the side of the goal.

16:00 - Hunwick got caught in front of the Tampa bench and almost ended up in it.

17:01 - Lots of pressure from the B's.

18:41 - Save Fernandez.

19:47 - B's start shorthanded.

20:00 - Start of the Second Period. The B's are 24-4-3 when leading after one.
First Period Recap: Tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning features three former Boston players who are playing their debut game on Garden ice since leaving the Black & Gold: Brandon Bochenski (traded last season for Shane Hnidy), Martins Karsums and Matt Lashoff (traded at the deadline for Mark Recchi.

But it was Blake Wheeler who garnered the attention when he gathered a Marc Savard rebound and beat Tampa goalie Mike McKenna shortside with a backhand shot to put the Boston Bruins up 1-0.

Tempers flared into a super heavyweight battle between Zdeno Chara and Tampa's Evgeny Artyukhin as the Boston captain went to the box. But the B's had to concentrate on killing a five-on-three power play for the Lightning as the period came to a close.

0:00 - Boston cleared the zone and went to the room with their 1-0 lead intact. Shots are 10-4, Boston.

12.0 - Big save Fernandez.

1:33 - Ward is going to the box for a high stick. Five-on-three for TB for 1:26.

2:07 -- Lucic in the box for interference. Tampa's first PP.

5:19 – Offsides Bruins – this one elicited far fewer boo’s from the crowd now that the score is 1-0.

5:57 – Bruins goals! Marc Savard wrapped around the back of the net to throw one on McKenna from the goal line but was denied…but Blake Wheeler was there to pop it in shortside and put the good guys up by one.

6:40 – More shoving in front of the Tampa net. The B’s are getting their chances but Tampa is tightening up their defense.

7:23 – Mark Recchi fires one past Tampa goaltender Mike McKenna, but it is just after an offsides whistle and waved off. That was disappointing.

7:49 – Aaron Ward hit the post in what has been the best attempt thus far…

8:00 – A lot of rough-and-tumble play. The hostility is palpable on the ice right now.

11:17 - Forward Evgeny Artyukhin appeared to go after Milan Lucic and Zdeno Chara stepped in and put his own two cents into the matter, decisively landing half a dozen shots to Artyukhin’s face before the two tumbled to the ground.

Chara was still fired up and screaming at Artyukhin on the way to the box.

The two were given five-minute majors for fighting. Also for Tampa Bay, Vincent Lecavalier in for hooking.

16:04 - A very high stick from Brandon Bochenski gets Zdeno Chara in the face. B's on the PP.

17:15 - Icing Boston. The game has been a little more back-and-forth than I would like.

20:00 - Start of the First Period. Lower the boom....

Tampa Starters: Krajicek, Lecavalier, Prospal, Bochenski, Smaby, McKenna
Boston Starters: Recchi, Bergeron, Kobasew, Chara, Ward, Fernandez

Let's switch to time on the clock...

6:41 p.m.

Kessel and Thornton (both with undisclosed injury), Hnidy

6:19 p.m.
Press Box Notes
The Bruins enter tonight’s matchup having won their last three games, and are 5-1-1 in their last seven. Bruins forwards Chuck Kobasew, Michael Ryder and Mark Recchi are each riding five-game point streaks with 2-3-5 totals, 3-4-7 totals and 5-2-7 totals respectively, over that span.

Other stories...
  • On Trade Deadline Day March 4, the Bruins and Lightning executed a trade where the Bruins acquired forward Mark Recchi and a second round draft pick in exchange for Matt Lashoff and Martins Karsums. Recchi has tallied seven goals and two assists in 11 games for the Bruins since the trade, while Lashoff has 0-5=5 totals in seven games and Karsums 0-2-2 totals in 12 games for Tampa.
  • On March 29, 2009 the Lightning recalled former Bruin Brandon Bochenski, who is expected to play in tonight’s game. Bochenski skated in 51 games for Boston from 2006-2008 and notched 11 goals and 17 assists. He was traded from Boston to Anaheim on January 2, 2008 for defenseman Shane Hnidy.
  • Tonight is “Autism Awareness Night” at the Garden, as the Boston Bruins and former NFL quarterback and Boston College football star Doug Flutie have partnered to benefit the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism and to help increase autism awareness.
  • The Boston Chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association announced today that Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron is their nominee for the 2009 Masterton Trophy. The Masterton Trophy is an annual award that honors the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
  • The Bruins also announced the winners of the Carlton Award and Boston Bruins Ice Hockey Sportsmanship Awards. Named after the late Bruins scout and administrator who passed away in 1982, the John Carlton Award is given annually by the Boston Bruins to an outstanding male and female student-athlete in an Eastern Massachusetts high school or Junior hockey league. This year’s winners are Jillian Dempsey of the Rivers School and Wayne Simpson of Lawrence Academy.

5:31 p.m.
Martins Karsums #44 of the Tampa Bay Lightning tries to control the puck along the boards against Jeff Schultz #55 of the Washington Capitals at the St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2009 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Forward Martins Karsums played only a handful of games with the Boston Bruins this season before being traded to the Lightning for forward Mark Recchi, but he is thankful for the opportunity those half-dozen games provided.

“[The Bruins] traded me here right now, and this is a really good chance for me to show what I can do, so I’m pretty happy to be here,” he said.

Karsums, who was traded at the deadline along with defenseman Matt Lashoff, see tonight’s first game back in Boston as a chance to reconnect with their old teammates and friends and maybe even stir the pot a little.

“It’s obviously very mixed [emotions]. I’m really, really excited,” Lashoff said. “I’ve got a lot of really, really good friends on that team. I went out to see a lot of them last night for dinner and it’s the type of thing it’s going to be a really healthy competition; it should be a lot of fun.”

As for healthy competition, Lashoff laughed and said that during dinner he and his buddies joked about who was going to drop the gloves first tonight.

“I’m thinking about it, yeah,” he laughed. “We were deciding it over dinner –– who’s going to drop them first.”

To make it three-for-three during this match up, former Bruin Brendan Bochenski will also play his first game against his former teammates.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “I’ve got two other guys that came to Boston this year, so they can all play our first one here.”

The right winger spent part of two seasons playing for the Boston squad before being traded to Anaheim for defenseman Shane Hnidy, and was acquired by Tampa Bay on Feb. 26, 2008.

5:10 p.m.
Patrice on the Masterton Trophy
Boston Bruins' Mark Recchi, right, celebrates his goal with Patrice Bergeron (37) during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks, Saturday, March 7, 2009, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
"It’s very flattering to receive this award [nomination]," said Patrice Bergeron when he learned of of the nomination. "I’ve been through a lot [over] the last year and I appreciate that the writers have nominated me – it means a lot and I appreciate that a lot."

Bergeron was gracious, but still talks like a man who would rather focus on tonight's game, rather than the long road back from injury.

"I’m very happy  it’s over with and I can look forward," he said. "I’ve overcome it.

"It’s been a long process and I am happy that its behind me and that I’ve been able to get back."

Bergeron was asked if he ever thought the road back to full recovery would as long as it turned out.

"I didn’t know what to expect to be honest," he said. "But at the same time, you always hope for the best. You always think it’s maybe going to be right away.

"But I never thought it was going to be that long. It took awhile and after it does, sometimes it gets into your head  and you are wondering what’s going on.

"Now I am very happy and I feel like my game is coming back," he said.

Bergeron's goals remain simple.

"I’m just happy to be back out there with the guys, having a chance to help every game," said the B's alternate captain. "I think for me that’s the one thing, and the biggest thing, that I wanted to do – getting back and doing my [thing].

"I’m very thankful for being back."

3:17 p.m.
Bergeron nomianted

From The Boston chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association is pleased to announce that center Patrice Bergeron is the Boston Bruins’ nominee for the Masterton Trophy.

The Masterton Trophy is presented each year to the player “who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey.” All 30 chapters of the PHWA nominate one player and the overall winner is voted on at the conclusion of the regular season. The winner will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas June 18.

Boston Bruins' Mark Recchi, second from right, celebrates his first period goal with teammates from left, Chuck Kobasew, Patrice Bergeron, and Aaron Ward (44) in a NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh Sunday, March 15, 2009. The Penguins won 6-4. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
Bergeron was overwhelmingly voted the nominee because he “not only displayed great courage and determination in returning from his career-threatening injury, but he also has again established himself as an elite talent. All the while, he has gone about his business with the utmost class and sportsmanship, on and off the ice.”

Coach Julien weighed in on Patrice Bergeron and his worth to the Bruins.

"Well, we’ve talked about it a lot this year --about what he’s done for this team, about what he’s done and what he’s been through and how he’s handled it -- [but] there’s so much that people don’t realize," said Julien. "I just take a step back and remember that this guy had to stay in the dark for a long, long time because he’d get a headache from just the light.

"[That] gives an idea of what he’s been through and where he is today.

"I’d say the last month or so he’s been outstanding as a player and we’re starting to see the Patrice that we knew before the incident and it couldn’t have come at a better time. [With] his play as of late and [with] what he’s been through in between is my mind [there's] no doubt he's very deserving of that nomination."

1:38 p.m.
Support Dougie's Team!

Doug Flutie with the Stanley Cup (photo:
The Boston Bruins and former NFL quarterback and Boston College football star, Doug Flutie will host "Autism Awareness Night" tonight during the Bruins/Lightning contest at the TD Banknorth Garden at 7:00 p.m. ET to benefit the Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism and to help increase autism awareness.

The Boston Bruins Foundation is hosting a raffle to benefit the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation. The raffle items include team-autographed Bruins memorabilia and a Doug Flutie autographed football.

In addition, a select few fans from the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation will have the chance to shake hands with the Bruins as they leave the locker room during intermissions. Flutie will also appear as a special guest on NESN during the first intermission of the Bruins home game.

12:50 p.m.
More on Kessel

Coach Julien was asked if he were encouraged by Kessel's recovery.

"Absolutely" was the answer. But the coach declined to even hint at the nature of Phil's undisclosed injury.

"Yeah it is undisclosed," said Julien, before answering, somewhat playfully, "You know, like I was saying, we’re in the business of protecting our players.

"You guys are in the business of exposing them.  But we're going to stick with the undisclosed, sorry."

You know, I'm not that sure that coach was really sorry. Ha!

12:06 p.m.
Phil remains out of the lineup...

Claude Julien just finished his post practice presser.

"I think we're going to see him come back with the team here sometime this week," said Coach. "We anticipate that he should be playing again early next week."

That's good news, True Believers.

I'm going to take in the Lightning's practice, so hang on for a more complete update.

9:22 a.m.
Welcome back Brendan, Matt and Martins
Matt Lashoff #55 of the Tampa Bay Lightning tries to defend Tomas Fleischmann #14 of the Washington Capitals at the St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2009 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)
Look for Martins Karsums and Matt Lashoff, former Bruins traded to Tampa in exchange for Mark Recchi, to see some ice time tonight.

But another familiar face has been added to the mix -- Brandon Bochenski. reports: Bochenski made his TBL debut with 3 shots and 12:43 of ice time 3/29 vs. OTT...he recorded 27 goals and 54 points in 69 games with Norfolk this season...Brandon led Norfolk in goals, power-play goals (11) and ranks 2nd in points...Lashoff recorded a point in 4 of his 7 games with TBL...he played a career-high 28:18 and had an assist 3/21 vs.ATL...Karsums Logged a career-high 15:23 in ice time and had 2 shots 3/24 vs. CBJ...he recorded his 1st TBL point with an assist and had a +1 rating 3/12 at TOR.

8:53 a.m.

Welcome to Bish's Blog v2.0.
Bish on TwitterWhat happened to The Bear Essentials? Well, er, nothing. But pretty much everyone still called the writing and updating that I do everyday "Bish's Blog."

So why fight city hall?

In addition, you'll also see that I have started using Twitter. I've been testing it out for about two weeks now and I think I have gotten the hang of it. But bear with me as I figure out where, when and how to post updates.

All-in-all, I am pretty psyched to throw some new tools in the mix -- particularly at this time of year. Look for some pretty entertaining updates from now through the end of the playoffs.

And hey! Thanks for stopping by. Stick around: We're gonna have some fun.
Angela Latona contributed to today's blog.
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