Aside from Martin St. Louis’ lone goal off of a breakaway, the Bruins dominated the contest Saturday night. The Black & Gold contained Steven Stamkos and a high-powered Lightning offense, holding the Bolts to 26 shots and took the victory by a score of 4-1.
A slow first period left the two teams in a scoreless stalemate, but when the B’s hit the ice in the second they were firing on all cylinders. The Bruins were grinding it out in the corners, winning battles to loose pucks and laying effective hits all over the ice.
The B’s effort got them on the scoreboard first. Just shortly into the second, Veteran Rich Peverley
netted his first of two goals on the night. Brad Marchand
took the puck into the slot and ripped a hard shot that bounced off of the left post. Marchand’s wrister found its way to the back door where an anxious Rich Peverley
was waiting to put it home.
“You saw on Pev’s [Rich Peverley
] goal there--the first one—hit the post, it could have went anywhere. It just dropped in front for him to tap in, so we’re just getting lucky bounces right now,” said a modest Marchand.
However, if there even was luck, it was clear that Marchand and the B’s hard work created it.
“Yeah that’s really all my game is based around, is working hard and bringing energy,” added Marchand.
Following St. Louis’ game-tying 300th career goal (scored on former UVM teammate Tim Thomas
), the Bruins buried another off of a Daniel Paille
Protecting the puck, Tyler Seguin
curled through the offensive zone and dropped it back to defenseman Adam McQuaid
on the the blue-line. McQuaid quickly got off a hard low shot that Paille was able to get his tape on. With the help of Chris Kelly
providing a screen, the puck snuck past a blinded Mathieu Garon.
The scoring concluded for the period but the physical intensity only picked up. Brad Marchand
and the Lightning’s Dominic Moore tussled in Tampa Bay’s zone after the whistle.
“I just came out of the net and gave him a little tap and he grabbed me by the head and he just kind of jumped down and held on tight,” explained Marchand.
The sophomore Bruin is known to play aggressively in order to get himself into the game.
“It’s part of my game and it just kind of gets me more involved and I felt a little sleepy to start off so I wanted to try to get involved in some way and that’s the way to do it.
"After that I felt pretty good.” Rich Peverley
and David Krejci
would score the B’s final two goals of the night in the third period off of rebounds in the Lightning’s slot.
Not only did the B’s hard work and physical presence help them take the contest, but they executed their penalty kill near-perfectly and were able to hold off a dangerous Lightning power-play that scored 69 goals last season.
Tampa Bay Head Coach Guy Boucher agreed that his special teams didn’t play up to their potential.
“It’s one of those games that you’ve got to win on the power-play and you’ve got to keep it tight and stay out of the box,” said Boucher.
“We didn’t stay out of the box and we didn’t score on the power-play.”
Although his team didn’t perform at their usual level, Boucher said there was no question as to why his opponent was the Stanley Cup Champion last year.
“I think the story of the night; whenever we did something right they did something better and that’s hard for the moral and that’s why they won the cup and that’s why they’re still contenders this year to win it again,” explained Boucher.
The Black & Gold finished the second of a long 82-game season, however, it seems that the team has all the necessary pieces to the puzzle and will be a power-house of the Eastern Conference once again if they come out with the same energy and intensity that they had against Tampa Bay.
The Bruins hope to move above .500 as they play their third home game in a row on Monday against the Colorado Avalanche. ---John Griffin