(Photo Credit: Charles Krupa/AP Photo)

By: Tom Calautti | Follow me on Twitter @TCalauttis

Brad Marchand was the story last night as he suited up for his 1,000th NHL game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The TD Garden crowd buzzed with electricity and fervor as they celebrated their captain’s milestone night. Here’s how it went down:

Marchand honored for his 1,000th Game

Things got off to an emotional start for Boston’s Captain as he took the ice for his 1,000th game. Marchand became the eighth Bruins to reach the milestone, and it was clear just how much this achievement meant to him. The lifelong Bruin teared up during the national anthem and then received a video tribute during the first TV timeout.

“That’s special,” said Marchand of the video tribute. “I know how fortunate I am to be part of this organization my whole career, at least up to this point. It’s part of what I love so much about being here is how much the fans care and how much they embrace the team.”

Marchand continued, “It truly is special, and it flies by. You really have to enjoy every game and make the most of every moment. I can’t believe how fast it’s already gone and it’s something you want to make last forever.”

“We all have a shelf life, and to look back on it and see some of those memories is very special that you don’t get to remember everyday, that’s what I’ll remember forever.”

The Bruins will officially honor Marchand with a pregame ceremony on Monday, February 19th, against the Dallas Stars, but that didn’t stop the team from making this night extra special for the captain. The team had Marchand’s children read the lineup before the game, and his family was in town all week. Combine that with the video montage, and you get a night the winger and the fans will never remember.

Slow Start Spoils the Fun

The Black and Gold seemed to be back on their game as the tilt against Tampa Bay started, but they still found themselves down 1-0 by the end of the first period. The team struggled with its transition defense early on, allowing several odd-man rushes before Erik Cernak wristed a shot that squeaked through Linus Ullmark’s legs.

Things went downhill from there after Tampa Bay was granted a power-play following a Danton Heinen high-sticking infraction The Bruins killed off the majority of the man advantage but couldn’t complete the kill as MVP candidate Nikita Kucherov buried a loose puck to extend his team’s lead to two. The tally was Kucherov’s 34th goal and league-leading 90th point of the season.

Marchand Strikes Back

Once he returned to the ice for the second period, Brad Marchand took matters into his own hands. The captain battled along the boards and won a puck up to Charlie McAvoy at the point where the assistant captain dropped to a knee and one-timed a shot past Andrei Vasilevskiy. McAvoy’s eighth of the season cut the lead in half and shifted the momentum in Boston’s favor.

Later in the second Marchand put on a stickhandling clinic, deftly maneuvering the puck between several opponents before establishing possession and setting up his team’s attack. With the referee’s arm raised and the extra attacker on, Marchand wired a puck from the bottom of the circle off Vasilevskiy’s chest that James Van Riemsdyk tapped home for his ninth of the year.

“It’s just Brad Marchand, right?” said Jim Montgomery after the game. “We talked before the game about honoring him with effort and emotion in our game tonight because no one has more effort and emotion and loves being a Bruin more than Brad Marchand.”

Vasilevskiy Shuts the Door

The Bruins went into the third period with momentum and the crowd on their side, but Andrei Vasilevskiy (36 saves) had other plans. The two-time Stanley Cup Champion shut down three third-period powerplays and weathered an overtime onslaught to get his team to a shootout. Brad Marchand seemed to score the game winner in the extra frame, but Vasilevskiy committed highway robbery, sliding across the crease and getting his blocker on the captain’s bid.

The game went to a shootout where Vasilevskiy stoned Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle, and David Pastrnak in order. Brayden Point sealed the victory when he beat Linus Ullmark in the second round. Despite their two goal comeback and valiant effort of their captain, the Boston Bruins fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2.

Game Notes

  • David Pastrnak added two secondary assists last night. He’s now tied with Connor McDavid for 3rd in the league with 77 points.
  • Kucherov has 10 goals and 18 assists in his career against the Bruins.
  • James Van Riemsdyk is tied with Charlie McAvoy for 4th on the team in scoring (34 points) and has five points in his last five games.
  • Jim Montgomery deployed a new second line of Jake DeBrusk, Pavel Zacha, and Trent Frederic, and they did just about everything but score. The new look second line out-chanced the Lightning 10-3 and had a Corsi differential of 15-4.