The Boston Bruins held on to beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, at Amalie Arena on Tuesday night for their first win in Tampa since March 17, 2018 (a, 3-0, victory).
Tuukka Rask (25-7-6 record, 2.13 goals against average, .928 save percentage in 39 games played) made 20 saves on 21 shots against (.952 SV%) in the win for Boston.
Tampa netminder, Andrei Vasilevskiy (33-13-3, 2.61 GAA, .915 SV% in 49 games played) stopped 33 out of 35 shots faced for a .943 SV% in the loss.
The Bruins improved to 42-13-12 (96 points) on the season and increased their Atlantic Division lead over the Lightning to nine-points while the Bolts fell to 41-20-5 (87 points) this season.
Boston also improved to 20-10-3 on the road this season, while Tampa was without their captain, Steven Stamkos, as he’ll be out for six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a core muscle injury on Monday.
Boston was without the services of Kevan Miller (knee) and Connor Clifton (upper body) on Tuesday, while Chris Wagner (upper body) returned to the lineup after missing the last game due to injury.
Miller has yet to make his season debut for the Bruins and has missed all 67 games in 2019-20.
Clifton has returned to practice with the rest of the team, but has been out for 27 games.
Bruins head coach, Bruce Cassidy, was prepared to make adjustments to his lines if Brad Marchand wasn’t ready to go Tuesday night due to “not feeling well” earlier in the day, but nevertheless, Marchand took part in warmups and was in his usual role on the first line left wing.
Wagner was re-introduced to the lineup on the third line in place of Karson Kuhlman.
Anders Bjork, John Moore, Anton Blidh and Kuhlman comprised of Boston’s short list of healthy scratches in Tampa.
Tuesday night also marked the 200th game of Jake DeBrusk’s NHL career.
Kevin Shattenkirk kicked off the night’s action with a hooking infraction against Ondrej Kase and presented the Bruins with their first power play of the night at 2:35 of the first period.
Boston was unsuccessful on the skater advantage and followed things up with a penalty of their own midway through the opening frame when B’s defender, Brandon Carlo, tripped Lightning forward, Pat Maroon at 14:09.
Tampa did not convert on the ensuing power play, however.
In the final minute of the first period, the Bruins worked a rush into the attacking zone whereby David Pastrnak sent the puck back to the point to Torey Krug.
Krug found Marchand (28) with an intentional shot pass looking for the redirection, which Marchand successfully pulled off to give Boston the game’s first goal and a, 1-0, lead at 19:05.
Krug (38) and Pastrnak (45) were credited with the assists on Marchand’s goal as the Bruins took the, 1-0, lead into the first intermission, while also leading in shots on goal, 14-9.
Boston held the advantage in takeaways (3-2), giveaways (1-0) and faceoff win percentage (55-45) after one period of action at Amalie Arena, while Tampa led in hits (13-6).
Both teams had seven blocked shots aside and were 0/1 on the power play heading into the second period.
Zach Bogosian sent a pass to Yanni Gourde for what was thought to be a one-timer goal, but Cassidy used his coach’s challenge on the basis that the Bolts had entered the attacking zone offside.
Upon review, video footage indicated that the Lightning were inches offside (and likely onside as of next season’s proposed amendments to the offside rule) and the call on the ice was reversed– no goal.
Gourde cut a rut to the penalty box 22 seconds later after tripping Charlie Coyle at 5:46 of the second period.
Boston did not capitalize on their second power play of the night, but generated enough momentum to carry themselves through the middle frame with dominance.
Coyle found DeBrusk through the neutral zone and presented No. 74 in black and gold on a breakaway, whereby DeBrusk (19) beat Vasilevskiy over the blocker side for his first goal in 11 games.
DeBrusk’s goal gave Boston a two-goal lead and was assisted by Coyle (20) at 10:06 of the second period.
Moments later, Mikhail Sergachev slashed DeBrusk at 12:54 and presented the B’s with yet another power play.
Once more, however, the Bruins were powerless on the skater advantage.
Late in the period, Mitchell Stephens (3) threw a shot on goal from close range that beat Rask after the Lightning just about beat the Bruins into submission with tremendous sustained pressure in the offensive zone.
Tyler Johnson (16) and Barclay Goodrow (18) notched the assists on Stephens’ goal at 17:28 and the Bolts cut Boston’s lead in half, 2-1.
In the dying seconds of the middle frame, Joakim Nordstrom and Gourde exchanged fisticuffs after a post whistle scrum ensued in front of the Boston net.
Nordstrom and Gourde each received five-minute majors for fighting at 19:56 and the two teams went into the second intermission in a tight, emotionally charged game.
Boston led Tampa, 2-1, on the scoreboard and, 31-14, in shots on goal through 40 minutes of play on Tuesday.
The Bruins also maintained the advantage in blocked shots (12-9) and faceoff win% (55-45).
The Lightning led in hits (26-11) after two periods, while both teams had four takeaways and one giveaway each.
As there were no penalties called in the third period, Boston finished 0/3 on the power play and Tampa finished 0/1 on the skater advantage on Tuesday night.
Nobody scored and nobody was penalized in the final frame of regulation, but Lightning head coach, Jon Cooper, pulled his goaltender for an extra attacker with about 1:05 remaining in the game to no avail as Boston’s defense stood tall and was backstopped by Rask in the dying seconds.
The Bruins finished the game with the, 2-1, victory and leading in shots on goal, 35-21, as well as blocked shots (21-10) and faceoff win% (57-43).
Tampa finished the night leading in giveaways (3-2) and hits (35-22).
Boston improved to 25-7-8 when scoring the game’s first goal, 24-5-3 when leading after one period and 27-1-6 when leading after two periods this season.
The Bruins also improved to 13-5-2 when scoring first on the road, 13-4-2 when leading after one period and 15-1-2 when leading after two periods on the road.
Tampa fell to 13-11-3 when allowing the game’s first goal, 7-7-1 when trailing after one period and 4-15-0 when trailing after two periods this season.
The Lightning are now 5-6-2 when allowing the game’s first goal at home, 3-5-1 when trailing after one period and 1-7-0 when trailing after two periods at home this season.
The B’s conclude their current three-game road trip (2-0-0) on Thursday with a game against the Florida Panthers before returning home to host the Lightning on Saturday.