Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Boston Bruins 3
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, March 7, 2020
Where: TD Garden, Boston
Special to Digital Sports Desk by Field Level Media
BOSTON – Andrei Vasilevskiy held on with 35 saves throughout a tumultuous night as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the host Boston Bruins 5-3 Saturday night. It could mark the preview of the future NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs (second round).
Anthony Cirelli and Mikhail Sergachev scored short-handed, and Cedric Paquette and Alex Killorn also tallied as the Lightning won for just the third time in their last eight games. Nikita Kucherov added an empty-netter.
Charlie McAvoy, Sean Kuraly and David Pastrnak scored for the Bruins, who had a four-game winning streak snapped. Tuukka Rask made 20 saves.
The teams combined for 92 penalty minutes after playing four days earlier in a 2-1 Boston win at Tampa Bay. Barclay Goodrow got it started on an elbow to the head of Ondrej Kase at 5:01 of the first period, and the Bruins went on the power play.
But it was the Lightning who scored seven seconds in when Cirelli got the puck off the faceoff and went top shelf to finish off a breakaway at 5:08. Sergachev then struck on a feed from Yanni Gourde from behind the net for a 2-0 lead at 6:10.
Boston continued to go after Goodrow, culminating in a fight between him and Chris Wagner at 10:45. Play calmed, and the Lightning took a 3-0 lead when Paquette was left alone in front of the net at 6:50 of the second.
Chaos ensued as the Bruins rallied. On a four-on-four after offsetting roughing minors, McAvoy scored at the tail end of a triangle breakout up ice at 14:50. Kuraly’s goal trickled through the legs of Vasilevskiy with 1:23 left in the period, but it wasn’t until 1:06 that the horn sounded after initial confusion regarding whether the puck crossed the line before being cleared.
At the sound of the horn, Boston’s Zdeno Chara got tangled up with the Lightning’s Pat Maroon, Cirelli subsequently blindsided Chara with a check to the back and a melee ensured. Kuraly and Erik Cernak were tossed for misconduct, and Lightning assistant coach Todd Richards was also ejected from the bench.
Tensions flared again at period’s end, and Nick Ritchie and Blake Coleman were tossed.
Killorn’s power-play goal on a torso-level redirect at 1:08 of the third made it 4-2 Tampa Bay. Pastrnak answered with a power-play one-timer at 6:37 but was later denied the tying goal by Vasilevskiy on a solo breakaway.
Kucherov’s empty-netter with 1:02 left sealed the result.