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(Photo Credit: Stuart Cahill)

By Mike Cratty | Follow me on Twitter @Mike_Cratty

Home: Boston Bruins: 47-17-11, 105 points, second in the Atlantic Division

Away: Tampa Bay Lightning: 51-21-4, 106 points, first in the Atlantic Division

Boston’s Lineup




Heinen-Riley Nash-Backes









Tampa Bay’s Lineup













First Period

The first three minutes or so were quiet until Adam McQuaid was blatantly interfered by Adam Killorn at the Bruins’ defensive blue line. That got the blood flowing for both teams. Some consistent chances came from the Bruins along with some solid, extensive offensive zone pressure.

With 11:48 in the first came the first power play of the game for the Bruins after Brayden Point took a holding penalty. The chances were there but the Bruins failed to score on the power play. Most notably David Pastrnak sending a rocket at the net that almost led to a goal on a rebound for Ryan Donato, but Andrei Vasilevskiy swallowed up the scoring chance.

Things went quiet again after the first Bruins power play until Kevan Miller high sticked Brayden Point at the 5:34 mark. Brayden Point nearly directed a Yanni Gourde shot past Tuukka Rask, but the Bolts ended their power play shotless. Come to think of it, things stayed quiet until the final minute.

Tim Schaller redirected a Tommy Wingels shot on net into the net with his left foot with 57.8 left for his 12th goal of the season. The net was then toppled over after the fact by Schaller as he was being pushed by Ryan McDonagh.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

Oh wait, there’s more!

David Pastrnak gets the past from Torey Krug, throws it on the net, where Ryan Donato deflects the puck in with 27.8 left for his fourth goal of the season. Patrice Bergeron also got a piece of the puck on the way. Two goals in the final minute within 30 seconds. Unreal.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

Although relatively quiet at times, the Bruins managed to put a lot of lumber on Andrei Vasilevskiy.

(Via @GlobeKPD on Twitter)

So yeah, the Bruins dominated the Lightning in the first period.

Score: 2-0 Boston

Second Period

Brian Gionta took a boarding penalty from behind with Anthony Cirelli on the receiving end at the 18:42 mark. J.T. Miller potted one 26 seconds into the power play after Patrice Bergeron broke his stick on the draw. It was quite the pass from Nikita Kucherov that set up the goal. The score goes to 2-1 Boston after Miller’s 21st goal of the season.

Fast forward to the 11:19 mark and a Bruin is heading to the box again. This time it’s Ryan Donato for high sticking. Momentum began to build for the Lightning after the goal from Miller. Steven Stamkos whistled his patented off-wing one-timer past the net early, but that was the main chance on the power play. The Bruins successfully kill the penalty.

Oh no! That’s Tuukka Rask’s music. Cory Conacher throws Brandon Carlo onto Tuukka Rask and Rask proceeds to pummel him. Andrei Vasilevskiy came from the other side of the ice to say hi to Tuukka. Tuukka Rask tooled on Cory Conacher, absolutely tooled on him, and it was fantastic. Conacher gets called for goalie interference and roughing, Rask gets called for roughing.

(Via @mkmolnar on Twitter)

The playoff atmosphere is real in this one. I don’t remember the last time a moment in a Bruins game fired me up that much. Adam McQuaid went to the box with 3:49 for hooking. Judge it how you will. The Bruins successfully killed the penalty.

(Via @RealJayKenney on Twitter)

Noel Acciari picked up two massive blocks on the power play, looking like Gregory Campbell out there. In the end, the Bruins got out of a hectic period with a one-goal lead, setting up for a wild third.

Score: 2-1 Boston

Third Period

Things got physical to start the third period for both teams. They traded chances until Alex Killorn scored with 13:58 to go in the period. Controversy followed as Anthony Cirelli was in the crease at the time of the goal right behind Tuukka Rask. Due to Cirelli’s presence in the crease, the goal was nullified and the Bruins still held their 2-1 lead over the Lightning.

Shots were 22 to 22 after the fact. Remember when they were 16-3 in favor of the Bruins?

If you thought Tuukka Rask fighting was surprising, how about seeing David Pastrnak go toe-to-toe with Dan Girardi? The fight was in response to Girardi lighting up Bergeron at center ice.

A little bit later, Cedric Paquette shoves David Backes for some reason, starting another scrum. Backes and Paquette both went to the box for roughing in response about halfway through the period. Paquette ended up on the bench punching Backes. so there’s that.

Move forward a bit and Tuukka Rask makes a huge save to keep the lead. Some cycling, with Marchand and Bergeron, Bergeron ends up on his off-wing back door, Marchand, to Krug, to Bergeron. A clockwork goal, Patrice Bergeron’s 28th of the season.

(Via @PeteBlackburn on Twitter)

Victor Hedman spoils the fun with 6:06 left, a minute and 55 seconds after the Bergeron goal, just squeaking one past Tuukka Rask to make it a 3-2 game. The goal was Hedman’s 15th of the season.

Tim Schaller nearly got his second goal of the night with less than three minutes left. Back-and-forth, high octane action in the final minutes. I said it once and I’ll say it again, the playoff atmosphere was real. Andrei Vasilevskiy was pulled with about 1:30 to go in the third. Shortly after came one of the more intricate empty-net goals from Brad Marchand. It was a product of all three members of the top line for Marchand’s 34th goal of the season.

As the clock bled out, “We want the cup!” chants came down in the Garden before the second to last skirmish of the night with 5.8 seconds to go in the game. One more skirmish came as the clock expired. Tuukka Rask gets the win in net with 28 saves, another great performance. Game over, Bruins win and hold first place in the Eastern Conference.

See you Tuesday, Tampa Bay.

Final Score: 4-2 Boston