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Rapid Reaction: Bruins 5, Lightning 2

3/28/2012

BOSTON -- After the last time the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning played on March 13, the Bruins were disgusted following a 6-1 loss.

Boston wanted to respond and it did Tuesday night with a 5-2 victory at TD Garden. The Bruins also extended their winning streak to three games.

Tampa gained an early 1-0 lead when Steven Stamkos scored a bad-angle goal on Bruins goalie Tim Thomas at 5:03 of the first period.

Boston responded later in the period, capitalizing on a solid forecheck by forward Shawn Thornton. He created a turnover in the Tampa zone and teammate Zdeno Chara collected the puck and drove to the net, getting a shot off. Tampa goalie Dwayne Roloson made the initial save, but Thornton was there to pump in the rebound to tie the game 1-1 at 10:54. It was Thornton's first goal in 35 games.

The Bruins gained a 2-1 lead at 15:05 of the second period during a four-on-four situation. Boston gained sustained pressure in the offensive zone when defenseman Dennis Seidenberg pinched down low and notched the go-ahead tally off a rebound. It was his fourth goal of the season.

Tampa tied the game at 2-2 early in the third when Stamkos scored his second of the game, a power-play goal at 5:46. It was the 55th goal of the season for Stamkos.

It didn't take long for Boston to respond.

The Bruins regained the lead when Benoit Pouliot netted his 14th goal of the season at 11:34 of the third period. The line of Pouliot, Brian Rolston and Chris Kelly continues to impress.

"Yeah, they’ve been good obviously," Julien said of the line. "None of them have 54 goals now, but we’ll tell you that they’ve been scoring on a regular basis every game so far lately.

"They're just finding ways to score some goals for us. I thought tonight they were maybe a little average compared to how they played out west, but that’s, again, nothing against them because of the fact that we were a team, again, that didn’t quite have the same jump. But at the same time, they still did the job they’ve been doing on the road, and that’s scoring some important goals for us. So that line continues to give us what we want, and maybe to the surprise of a lot of people. You kind of look at that combination, and you don’t think it was going to be working that well, but all three of those guys are playing pretty good hockey right now."

Brad Marchand added a bit of insurance with his 26th goal of the season at 15:50 of the third period to give Boston a 4-2 advantage, and Rich Peverley added an empty-netter.

Nothing changes: Entering Tuesday night with a two-game winning streak, Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to stick with the same lineup. Boston's healthy scratches included forward Daniel Paille and defensemen Joe Corvo and Mike Mottau. Rookie Torey Krug, who joined the team Tuesday morning, was also a scratch.

Get 'em while they're hot: Tickets for the Bruins' first three home games of the Stanley Cup playoffs will go on sale at 11 a.m. on Friday. Fans can purchase tickets on bostonbruins.com or by calling 800-745-3000.

Honored: The Bruins honored Chara in a pregame ceremony for playing his 1,000th career NHL game last Saturday in Los Angeles. Chara's wife Tatiana and daughter Elliz Victoria were on the ice for the ceremony. Chara became the 277th player and 91st defenseman to reach the milestone. He's also the 11th Bruins player to accomplish the feat. The Bruins showed a video tribute before the game with interviews from current and former players. Chara spoke and thanked Bruins ownership, management, teammates and fans. Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli called the achievement "awesome."

Chara added three assists during the game.

"You can take away his three assists and still look at his game and say he was solid," Julien said. "Everything he did was simple, efficient, and he was rock solid tonight. I really liked his game, and to cap it off with a three-point night was nice to see. He made a lot of smart plays -- really, really good. Obviously this was a special night for him, and he wanted to make sure that everything he did was good and positive, and [he] was a real solid contributor for us tonight."

"It’s obviously very nice to get that recognition and ceremony," Chara said. "I very much appreciate it. It’s very nice from the NHL, the Boston Bruins organization, from my teammates and everybody that supported me. But when that ceremony is over, you have to focus on the game and you've just got to be ready because you have to play 60 minutes. There’s no other way to really describe it, just be ready and play hard the whole game."

Up next: The Bruins will host the Washington Capitals on Thursday at TD Garden. Boston then returns to the road for a two games in New York. The Bruins will play the Islanders on Saturday and the Rangers on Sunday.