Thursday, April 25, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Bruins 2, Lightning 0
By James Murphy
BOSTON -- Tuukka Rask made 30 saves and earned his fifth shutout of the season as the Bruins rebounded from Tuesday's forgettable performance in Philadelphia with a 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Thursday night.
Dennis Seidenberg and Daniel Paille scored for the Bruins, who looked like a completely different team than the version that lost 5-2 to the Flyers on Tuesday. Boston played solid two-way hockey throughout, exhibiting more purpose and intensity.
Rask lights-out again: This was the second shutout in three games for Rask. While his team definitely played much better in front of him than they have recently, he still shut the door on a potent offense that featured the top two scorers in the NHL in Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos. Rask showed great poise after a subpar performance in relief of Anton Khudobin on Tuesday. Rask really seems to be falling into that zone a goalie must be in for the playoffs. It can only mean good things for the Bruins.
Lucic playing with passion again: Is Milan Lucic finally back? While he didn't score a goal, Lucic continued to increase his physical presence and also fought Lightning defenseman Keith Aulie 17:22 into the second period. That was the first fight for Lucic since March 3, when he dropped the gloves with Canadiens forward Brandon Prust. Since being a healthy scratch last Saturday, Lucic has been skating harder and seems to be playing with an edge again. If he can translate that into some more offense as well, the Milan Lucic whom Bruins fans have grown to love might be back.
Paille and Campbell a pair of sevens: Prior to the game Thursday, defenseman Dougie Hamilton was honored with the Seventh Player Award, which is presented to the Bruin "who went above and beyond the call of duty and exceeded the expectations of Bruins fans during the 2012-13 season." The 19-year-old rookie has had a solid season -- as expected for the former first-round pick. Two players who in this scribe's eyes would've been more worthy choices would be Paille and Gregory Campbell, who connected for the Bruins' second goal. Paille now has 10 goals and seven assists and has surely produced more offense than was expected from him. While Campbell has four goals and nine assists, he, too, is an unsung hero of this team.
Pouliot a marked man: After suffering a concussion from a hit by Dennis Seidenberg the last time the Lightning played in Boston, former Bruin Benoit Pouliot seemed to have a bull's-eye on his back in the early going of this game. Early in the first period, Milan Lucic reacquainted himself with Pouliot, laying a hard hit on him in the corner, and then at 14:00 into the opening frame, Andrew Ference fought his old teammate in a very spirited battle. Not sure whether Pouliot walked out on some team tabs or not, but he was a marked man against his former teammates Thursday.
Boychuk returns to the ice and Hamilton to the press box: Julien continued to rotate defensemen in and out of the lineup Thursday as he rests his blue line up for the playoffs. This time it was Hamilton who got another rest as Johnny Boychuk was back in after being a healthy scratch on Tuesday. Up front, Julien also had Carl Soderberg back on the wing after he played center Tuesday. Here's what the lineup looked like Thursday:
Milan Lucic-David Krejci-Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Tyler Seguin
Carl Soderberg-Chris Kelly-Jaromir Jagr
Daniel Paille-Gregory Campbell-Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara-Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference-Johnny Boychuk
Wade Redden-Adam McQuaid