The Bruins started the game with sustained offensive pressure, and alert defensive efforts. It didn’t take long for the sustained pressure to turn into a goal for the streaking Black and Gold, as David Pastrnak scores his 28th on a beautiful pass from Scorey Krug. Assists to Krug (36th assist) and Adam McQuaid (2nd assist). Bruins 1-0 three minutes in.
Surprisingly, the Bruins continued to hold the potent Lightning mostly in their own zone, witht the Lightning landing their first official shot on goal at almost the 10 minute mark.
Tampa lands it’s first SOG almost halfway through the first. That type of effort isn’t going to last much longer with a elite team like the Lightning.— StanleyCup ofChowder (@cupofchowdah) March 17, 2018
The Lightning mounted a furious, sustained counterattack but couldn’t capitalize, leading to some frustration that resulted in a Stamkos penalty for interference on Schaller.
Kevan Miller and Steven Stamkos get a little nasty after a hit on Schaller by Stamkos. pic.twitter.com/wZ9UKsslmm— StanleyCup ofChowder (@cupofchowdah) March 17, 2018
On the ensuing power play, 1st line center David Backes scored his 12th of the year, thanks in part to a nifty stick lift by New Nash (TM). Assists go to Krug (37th) and Marchand (43rd), and it’s 2-0 Bruins in the 1st.
Unfortunately for Backes, his eventful night didn’t end there as he was apparently cut by a Tampa skate crashing the net and left the game immediately.
After the Backes injury both teams played out the period without any notable moments. Bruins have the SOG advantage at 12-5 at the end of 1st.
It is a a fairly even matchup up until Mikhail Sergachev takes a penalty agaisnt Brian Gionta for high sticking and offensive superstar Riley Nash puts home a rebound to make it 3-0. Krug gets his 3rd assist of the night and is joined by the Other Nash with the 2nd assist.
Original Nash gets his 14th goal on a rebound. Running out of nice things to say about Riley and the stellar seasons he’s having. Krug gets his 3rd assist and Other Nash gets the 2nd assist. pic.twitter.com/fo14K6EoGV— StanleyCup ofChowder (@cupofchowdah) March 18, 2018
Following the Nash goal, it becomes a penalty fest as Noel Acciari crashed the net and gets pummelled by Victor Hedman for it, which led to a quasi-fight between Tim Schaller and Jake Dotchin who each take roughing penalties for it, to go along with Acciari’s interference call.
Acciari crashes the net and gets roughed up by Hedman while down. After some extracurricular activities Schaller & Dotchin get roughing penalties & Acciari takes an interference penalty to put TBL on PP. - @CBeswick pic.twitter.com/7IjosQDFAc— StanleyCup ofChowder (@cupofchowdah) March 18, 2018
The Bruins ace penalty killers are able to kill the Acciari penalty, which is shockingly his first PIM of the season, yes seriously. Give that man the Lady Byng!
Fun fact: With his interference penalty earlier, Noel Acciari has his first PIM of the season. Incredible run for such a ferocious hitter. Up to 26 total career PIMs. #NHLBruins— Colin Beswick (@CBeswick) March 18, 2018
Not content with just Acciari’s penalty, Brandon Carlo takes his 2nd tripping penalty of the night, this time against Tyler Johnson but the Bruins successfully kill another power play against a potent Tampa offense. The 2nd period ended, much closer than the 1st, with Tampa outshooting the Bruins 9-8. The Bruins announce David Backes won’t return after getting stitches above his right knee.
So far, this game has been a full on sprint to the finish line between two true heavyweights and the 3rd was no exception. This game may be one of the fastest, heaviest games the Bruins have played, which is made even more impressive given how many key players are injured. Both teams manage to avoid taking any penalties through the halfway point. Killorn has an open net on Rask’s right side and appears to inexplicably miss the goal, keeping Rask’s shutout intact. On replay it MAY have been Rask getting his stick on it, but tough to tell, credit to @CrzyCanucklehed for the video.
With 6:30 left, Victor Hedman takes a high sticking penalty against Pasta, leading to the Bruins 3rd power play opportunity of the night but the Bruins PK unit is up for yet another challenge and kills it.
The Lightning pull Vasilevskiy and gets sustained pressure but can’t score. Just like that, the bruised and hurting Bruins dominate the high flying Tampa Bay Lightning, in Tampa’s home rink. WHAT A WIN FOR THE BRUINS!
Power Play Clicking: The Bruins special teams were phenomonal, with the undermanned PP unit going 2-3 on the power play. The penalty kill killed all 3 of Tampa’s power plays.
Kucherov for MVP?: It took the MVP favorite 50 minutes to register a shot on goal against the Black and Gold, not exactly MVP caliber numbers for the offensive dynamo.
Unheralded Depth: One of the unsung heroes of the night was Adam McQuaid who had a genuinely strong night, regularly blocking shots and his using large frame effectively without being pulled away from the play. Riley Nash continued his incredible season with another goal (14th) and matched his last two seasons offensive output through only 69 games played.
Team Effort: When names like Adam McQuaid and Riley Nash dominate the media coverage, and offensive players like David Pastrnak make noteworthy defensive plays, you know it’s been a total team effort.