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Recap: Bruins clinch Atlantic Division with 2-1 win over Lightning

Well that was fun!

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins topped the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-1, this afternoon at the TD Garden to clinch the Atlantic Division.

The game was a possible playoff preview, and it didn’t disappoint.

Special teams had their work cut out for them, as the Bruins had seven power plays and five penalty kills in the today’s tilt — with gloves dropped just nine seconds in that set the tone for the rest of the day.

Patrice Bergeron scored on the power play to give the Bruins the lead, before Victor Hedman scored a shorthanded goal minutes later in the first period.

The fourth line had an impactful game, scoring the winning goal in the second frame and countering the Lightning’s emotions throughout the 60 minutes.

Linus Ullmark made 26 saves in the win.

Here are the highlights!

First period:

The Bruins opened the scoring at 6:46 of the first period on the power play.

Brad Marchand sent a pass out front to Bergeron in the slot where his shot bounced off Hedman and into the net. 1-0 Bruins.

The Lightning tied the game at 9:30 of the first period with a shorthanded goal.

Pierre-Edouard Bellemare found Hedman skating into the zone where at the top of the left-wing circle, he let a shot fly top-shelf past Ullmark’s glove shoulder for a shorthanded tally. 1-1 tie game.

Second period:

The Bruins took the lead at 17:32 of the second period.

Matt Grzelcyk threw a shot on net from the left point. Out front, Garnet Hathaway picked up the rebound to get the puck past Andre Vasilevskiy’s glove. 2-1 Bruins.

Third period:

No goals

Final score: 2-1 Bruins

Game notes

  • The Bruins clinched the Atlantic Division this afternoon with their 56th win of the season! There were a few milestones today — David Krejci slid into fifth on the Bruins’ All-Time Games Played List at 1028 games. The B’s are one win away now from tying a franchise record for most wins in a season.
  • The first period was riddled with penalties, as the game started off with four guys heading to the penalty box just nine seconds into the game. It was a near line brawl as Hathaway and Maroon went at it after some words from the opening face-off. Then Jakub Lauko squared off with Ross Colton.
  • Hathaway and the fourth line impacted the game from the opening face-off. The line brought energy and played to their strengths. They were strong on both the puck in the offensive zone and on the Lightning countering any physicality they put forth. All three, Tomas Nosek, Hathaway and Lauko had a net-front presence throughout the 60 minutes, driving pucks hard to the net. The line was rewarded with the game-winner.
  • SCOC asked Bergeron what he thought about Hathaway’s game today and what he’s brought to the team since he’s been here.
  • Bergeron responded to SCOC: “He’s been great. I’ve always liked his game, You know, you don’t like playing against him, but he’s very efficient, very good for his team. Came in and fitted nicely on that line, but also even off the ice. He’s a great guy. Seems to be a character guy. He’s leading in his one way and leading by example and can’t say enough about him and the impact he’s had so far.”
  • In total, 26 minutes (one four-minute high-sticking call against Tampa Bay) were spent on special teams during the game. The Bruins spent eight minutes on the power play in the first period. They capitalized on one attempt.
  • The B’s penalty kill came up huge in the second period when the team found themselves on a 5-on-3. During the kill, they took away shooting lanes and got their sticks in the way enough times to kill the clock and ice the puck. Dmitry Orlov played a big role, out there for a majority of the time as Brandon Carlo and Charlie McAvoy sat in the box.
  • Head Coach Jim Montgomery said postgame they expected the Lightning to play and were ready to counter it. “We had an inkling Tampa Bay was going to want to play a very energetic and emotional game, but didn’t know it was going to happen that quick,” he said. Montgomery said they start Nosek’s line a lot at home because of the energy they bring — today was no different.
  • The Bruins are right back at it tomorrow against the Carolina Hurricanes at 5 p.m. on the road.

Check out the recap podcast here: