The game started with all sorts of uncertainty over who would and who wouldn’t play. Backes and Gryzelcyk ended up playing, Kuraly sat with an injury. Oh, and a Red Sox collapse in their season opener. There goes the Tampa sweep.
Immediately the game started with big hits and a heavy feel to it with both teams knowing the stakes. The Bruins out shot the Lightning for majority of play before Brayden Point was called for holding halfway through the 1st. Despite the Lightning’s penalty kill being among the worst statistically, they didn’t a great job of closing gaps and making the Bruins work to set up looks while successfully killing the holding call.
Point then decided to draw a penalty this time around, in this case a high stick by Kevan Miller and the Bruins are on the PK. Despite being down Chara and with Miller in the box, the Bruins kill the penalty with ease.
The Bruins finally break through the Tampa defense with a goal that went off of Ryan McDonagh’s stick, Schaller is credited, with Tommy Wingels getting the lone assist.
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Not to be outdone, the Bruins pulled their trademarked 2017-18 “score with time winding down” move on a nifty Bergeron shot, redirected by budding star Pastrnak (according to NHL)!
Brian Gionta boards Cirelli at the 1:18 marker to put Tampa on the PP and they immediately score. 2-1 Bruins.
Not content with keeping the game at even strength, Ryan Donato high sticks Alex Killorn and the Lightning head to their 3rd power play of the night. Holden and Carlo play the majority of the kill and keep the looks to the perimeter while killing the penalty.
Things went from entertaining regular season matchup to Stanley Cup finals levels of intensity real quick when Corey Conacher crashed the net which angered Tuukka Rask.
YOU WON’T LIKE HIM WHEN HE’S ANGRY! The refs decide Conacher gets minors for roughing and interference, with a penalty going to Wingels for roughing putting the Bruins on the power play. Paquette and Wingels both serve the penalties for Rask and Vasilevskiy ( for skating out to meet Rask). They are unable to score.
Adam McQuaid is called for a “hook” that was at least partially sold by Cirelli, who draws his second penalty of the night. The Bruins PK unit has a fantastic kill, led largely by Acciari and Carlo who both made numerous plays, and blocked shots for the tired PK unit.
At the end of the 2nd, the Lightning pulled close in the SOG category after trailing heavily throughout, ending with 17 SOG to the Bruin’s 19. The 3rd period is shaping up to be a doozy at this point.
The intensity was once again ratcheted up, as was the physicality between both teams as they tried to find that line between playing on the edge without getting penalized. The 1st was the Bruins period, the 2nd the Lightning, but the 3rd is shaping up to be the most evenly matched thus far.
Rask and his defense have a bit of a miscue and Killorn puts the puck in the net. Fortunately for the Bruins, Cirelli, yes him again, may have jsut put the pads on with how deep in the crease he was. The call is no goal on the ice, but Cooper decides to challenge and loses, because it was, well, interference. He loses it on the bench but the world keeps on spinning.
Pastrnak briefly fights... Dan Girardi? Yeah, I don’t know either folks.
Backes and Paquette exchange pleasantries leading to both getting called for roughing and the Patrice Bergeron scores on a sweet feed from Torey Krug to put the Bruins up by 2.
If the Garden wasn’t amped before this, they are now!
This Lightning team isn’t about to give up though, they answer almost immediately on a Hedman shot that just makes it through. It’s a one goal game with 6 minutes left. Just like we all expected.
It’s a mad dash in the closing minutes as Tampa furiously tries to tie the game, but Brad Marchand ices it with an empty net goal assisted by Bergeron and Pastrnak and the Bruins win 4-2. What an incredible game, start to finish!