With the Bruins in the midst of an extended slate against some of the top teams in the NHL, the wins are not coming as easily as they did a few weeks ago.
And yet, those victories just keep on coming.
In a tight-checking affair against three-time defending Eastern Conference champ Tampa Bay, the B’s lost one one-goal lead but not a second one and rode Taylor Hall’s two goals to a 3-1 win.
The victory improved the B’s record to 19-3 overall and 13-0 at the Garden.
Hall broke a 1-1 tie at 2:49 of the third period with his second goal of the game. This second one came on the power play after defenseman Nick Perbix tripped David Pastrnak in the Boston zone. On the go-ahead goal, the B’s won a scrum along the right boards and the puck kicked out to Hampus Lindholm with a lot of open ice around him.
He dished down to Nick Foligno, who was forced behind the net, but Foligno was able to make a deft pass on the short side to Hall out front. With an empty net staring at him, Hall did not miss.
As the game wore on, the B’s missed a couple of great chances to extend the lead. Patrice Bergeron hit a crossbar and later Pavel Zacha missed a wide open net on a one-timer. Meanwhile Jeremy Swayman made a terrific pad stop on Corey Perry to preserve the lead.
Finally, Brad Marchand ended it with an empty-netter with 41 seconds left.
The B’s enjoyed a three-day break while the Lightning played on Monday night, notching a 6-5 comeback win over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday. With that in mind, the B’s had the edge in jump in the first period and, quickly, the edge on the scoreboard on a Hall goal (7) just 1:07 into the game. Trent Frederic, returning after missing two games with an upper body injury, dug the puck out on the right corner and got it out high to Brandon Carlo. The defenseman drifted toward the middle of the blue and flipped a wrist shot that a moving Hall deflected down and past Andrei Vasilevskiy.
The B’s held a 9-7 shot advantage in the first but didn’t have any more Grade A chances until Jake DeBrusk’s partial shorthanded breakaway that Vasilevskiy blockered aside.
Meanwhile, Swayman’s best save came on that Tampa power play when Brayden Point had a wide open shot in the slot but Swayman turned it away.
The game remained tight-checking into the second period with neither team generating much by way of scoring chances, though Tampa was starting to gain a bit of a territorial edge. The B’s started to push back late in the period but, on an offensive zone draw, Zacha was whistled for an interference penalty and the Bolts made them pay.
On the advantage, Carlo had a chance to get the puck out but his backhand attempt was thwarted at the blue line. Eventually, Nikita Kucherov zipped a one-touch pass to Steven Stamkos, whose deadly one-timer from the left circle tied it at 1-1 at 18:20. It was Stamkos’ 999th career point.