Monday, November 11, 2013
Lightning Can't Solve the Bruins This Season; Get Well Soon Stamkos!
Afternoon matinees in the NHL always have a strange feel, they are filled with way more kids and less drunk adults so the atmosphere is tame and quiet. The Bruins beat the Lightning 3-0 this afternoon at TD Garden on Veterans Day but sadly I'm sure the lasting image will be Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos getting wheeled off on a stretcher after he broke his leg.
Boston (11-5-1) has treated Tampa Bay (12-5-0) this season like they are the lowly Panthers and not the top team in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins improved to 3-0 vs. the Lightning, outscoring them an aggregate of 11-1 with only one meeting left (March 8 in TB). For the second straight game vs. Tampa Bay, Tuukka Rask (28 saves) didn't even allow a goal to one of the highest scoring teams in the league. It was his second shutout of the season and 18th of his career.
It's hard to blame Tampa Bay if they lost some of their spirit after seeing arguably the top player in the NHL go down in the second period with a serious injury. Boston played well all game but they finally cashed in two scoring chances late in the frame. Patrice Bergeron went to the front of the net and fought through traffic to get his sixth goal of the season at 17:09 from Loui Eriksson and Torey Krug.
Before the Lightning had a chance to regroup, Daniel Paille was skating in on a breakway and he tucked a backhander past Anders Lindback (23 saves) for his second goal of the season. Gregory Campbell (first point of the year!) and Matt Bartkowski had the assists. With no Stamkos and Boston's penalty kill pitching a shutout as well (4 for 4, 22 in a row dating back 6 games), there would be no comeback for the visitors.
It appeared that David Krejci scored a goal late in the third period but it was wiped out for a shaky goaltender interference ruling on Jarome Iginla. No worries, Iginla made up for that with an empty netter with 59 seconds left. It was his fourth goal of the season, remember when he was stuck on zero for so long?
Boston gets a couple days off at home before finishing up this long run at TD Garden; on Thursday (7, NESN) they host the Blue Jackets (6-10-0), who are one of the most disappointing teams in the NHL given their expectations coming into this season after they just missed out on the playoffs last season and have the Vezina Trophy winner (Sergei Bobrovsky).