Thursday, February 21, 2013
Observations: Bruins 4, Lightning 2
By James Murphy
Nathan Horton had two goals, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand had a goal and assist each, and the Bruins won their second straight game with a 4-2 win over the Lighting in Tampa Bay on Thursday. Rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton added two assists and Tuukka Rask made 24 saves for the Bruins as they improved to 2-1-0 on their current five-game road trip.
Steven Stamkos (goal, assist) and Cory Conacher scored and Teddy Purcell had two assists for the Lightning. Anders Lindback made 22 saves for Tampa Bay in the loss.
Bergeron and Marchand stay hot, Seguin heating up: While Marchand has consistently found the back of the net this season and Bergeron has been his usual self in playing great two-way hockey, Seguin has struggled and not looked like the player who led the team in scoring last season. But with an assist Thursday, Seguin now has two points in his past three games and nine points this season. With two points Thursday, Bergeron now has four points in his last three and 11 for the season, and Marchand has three points in his last three games and 11 points this season.
Horton finding back of net again: Heading into this game, Horton had only one goal in his last seven games. But on Thursday, the rugged winger looked more like the motivated Horton who started the season with three goals in six games. Horton was driving to the net and finding his sweet spot. He almost had the hat trick but hit the post twice in the final seconds with Lindback pulled for an extra attacker. Horton now has six goals and if he can play like he did Thursday, the Bruins' offense will get a huge lift.
Rask scrambling early but settles down: He's one of the more sound goalies in terms of positioning, but Rask was scrambling more than usual early in this game. Many times in the first period and early in the second, Rask was caught out of position. While that wasn't the case on all the Lightning goals, it seemed to make for frantic moments for Rask and his teammates. But the Finnish netminder seemed to find his comfort zone and settle in as the game went on, which was good news for the Bruins. Tampa Bay outshot the Bruins 9-6 in the final frame, but he stopped all nine, including a breakaway by Vincent Lecavalier with 20 seconds left in regulation.
Penalty kill continues to get it done: The Bruins killed off all three Tampa Bay power plays, including a second-period Zdeno Chara roughing penalty that carried into the third period and a late Adam McQuaid tripping call. They have now killed 17 straight power plays and continue to help preserve leads and give their team a chance to hang around in games.
Hamilton passing the test: After hitting a bit of a rookie wall, Hamilton has found his groove again and is a threat on offense. He's finding seams that many defenseman don't always see. With his two helpers Thursday, Hamilton has three assists -- along with a goal -- in his last three games. He has a goal and seven assists on the season.
Rare fast start for Bruins: The Bruins scored two goals in the first 3:50 to take an early 2-0 lead. They blew that lead and then regained it, but if the Bruins can make such fast starts a habit, it could help them a lot as the season starts to get busier and fatigue eventually sets in. Having an early cushion could help the Bruins pace themselves more throughout a busy schedule that basically means a game every other day.
Roster back to normal: With Milan Lucic back after missing Boston's 3-2 win at Winnipeg on Sunday, the lines were back to normal. That meant Jay Pandolfo was back up top in the press box, joining Lane MacDermid and Aaron Johnson as healthy scratches.
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Nathan Horton
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Chris Bourque-Chris Kelly-Rich Peverley
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Johnny Boychuk
Dennis Seidenberg-Dougie Hamilton
Andrew Ference-Adam McQuaid