BOSTON– On Tuesday evening the Boston Bruins looked to continue their most recent hot streak – after winning four of their previous five games when they hosted Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning at the TD Garden. The B’s took care of business against the Bolts — despite Stamkos’ phenomenal individual effort — taking Tuesday’s contest by a 5-2 score.
“This is a good time to put it together for sure and it’s a good team in here, great team.” – Brian Rolston
Things didn’t exactly get off to an ideal start for Claude Julien’s squad as they found themselves behind a goal only five minutes into action. It was Stamkos – the NHL’s leading scorer – who would put the Bolts ahead early after taking advantage of a Boston turnover and firing a wrist shot past Tim Thomas for his 54th tally of the season.
The Black and Gold would even the score nearly six minutes later after Zdeno Chara – who was honored with a pre-game ceremony for playing in his 1,000th career NHL contest this past Saturday out in Los Angeles – showed some offensive prowess, dangling around the Tampa Bay defense and taking it to goal, with allowed Shawn Thornton to stuff home a rebound into an empty net. “Well, it’s obviously very nice to get that recognition and ceremony. Like I said, I very much appreciate it. It’s very nice from the NHL, the Boston Bruins organization, from my teammates and everybody that supported me” said the Boston captain of the ceremony orchestrated by the Bruins’ brass.
Boston would take the lead for the first time of the night during a four-on-four situation late in the second period. Zdeno Chara’s blistering slapshot was stopped by Tampa ‘tender Dwayne Roloson, but a perfectly place (for Boston) rebound allowed Big Z’s defense partner Dennis Seidenberg to fire home his fourth of the season.
Unfortunately for the 17, 565 Black and Gold-clad fans that packed the Garden on Tuesday, the Bolts would even the score early in the third period when a Stamkos’ power-play rocket found the back of the Boston net. Soon after, the B’s would jump back ahead when Brian Rolston found Benoit Pouliot open in front of the Tampa net for his 14th tally of the campaign. Only four minutes later, Boston would add to their lead when Brad Marchand fired a wrist shot through traffic and past Roloson for his team-leading (tied with Tyler Seguin) 26th marker of the season. With just seven seconds left on the clock, Rich Peverley would score in the empty net to seal a 5-2 home ice victory for the Bruins. The B’s have now won three games in a row – for the first time since December – and five of their last six.
“We’re putting together some points at a very important time that, heading down the stretch here, gives us a little cushion, which I think is a good thing.” – Tim Thomas
The loss all but eliminates the Bolts from post-season contention, as last year’s Eastern Conference runner-up now find themselves nine points out of a playoff spot with only six games left on the docket. Superstar forward Steven Stamkos reflected on the team’s season in an exclusive interview with Hockey Independent.
“It’s been a tough year. Every team has to go through it (injury problems) but it’s definitely been a lot more than previous years. That’s the trick of this league: the team that stays the most healthy is usually the most successful. Even at the beginning of the year when we were healthy, we didn’t play the game that we wanted to. We didn’t see the results and we dug ourselves a hole. No one gave up on this team. It was a big hole to climb. There’s no excuse for how we started the year, and that’s why we’re not in the playoff mix right now. I’d love to trade those (scoring records) in for a playoff spot. But it is what it is right now. For me personally, I just want to finish strong down the stretch and build as much confidence as I can. Try to score goals and create offense to help our team win.” – Steven Stamkos
Ben’s Three Stars:
2) Steven Stamkos (2 Goals)
3) Martin St. Louis (2 Assists)
– The B’s will host Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Thursday evening. The Bolts will finish up their current road trip with a game in New Jersey on Thursday.
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Have written for The Hockey Guys and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com.