It is a sight no goalie likes to see in a 2-2 game in the third period: Steven Stamkos sprinting down the wing with the puck.
But Saturday at TD Garden, a rare Stamkos misfire turned into his opponent’s game-winning goal.
Seconds after the Tampa Bay star shot wide of Boston goalie Anton Khudobin, Brad Marchand pulled away for a two-on-one power-play rush with Patrice Bergeron against defenseman Victor Hedman.
After receiving the puck from Bergeron, Marchand snapped a shot over Mathieu Garon at 17:44 of the third period, giving the Bruins a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay.
The Bruins wiped out a two-goal deficit to win their sixth straight game.
“Johnny on the spot,” coach Claude Julien said of Marchand. “When we need a big goal, he seems to be able to find it.”
The only other shot Stamkos landed had beaten Khudobin. In the first period, with Milan Lucic in the penalty box for interference, Stamkos lined up for his trademark one-timer. Even with his left skate touching the goal line, Stamkos hammered in a sharp-angle rocket. Khudobin wasn’t square to Stamkos.
“I was expecting it,” Khudobin said. “I just didn’t get in the right position.”
On the game-winning sequence, Stamkos’s far-side slapper skimmed wide of the net. The puck rolled around the boards and onto Bergeron’s blade to trigger the two-on-one.
“I have confidence in my shot,” Stamkos said. “I was trying to get the puck on net, not trying to make a play. It goes all the way down. That’s probably the only way I miss that side, and it goes all the way down. If I do it again, maybe I shoot short side.”
In his coach’s eyes, Stamkos wasn’t at fault. When Stamkos started his sprint, Eric Brewer joined the rush. Had Brewer stayed at home, the defenseman would have been in better position to fend off the Bruins’ counterattack.
“We’re not thinking the right thing on that one,” said Tampa coach Guy Boucher. “It hits the net, no problem.
“We’ve seen this a thousand times. When they were going, I knew it. I knew it screaming from the bench for our D to stay back. I knew that if the puck misses the net, it goes right around, and that’s exactly what happened.
“I’ve seen this so many times. We can’t do that. We just can’t do that. That’s what we get.”
Marchand’s power-play goal was the third straight strike for the Bruins. Uncharacteristically, they had fallen behind by two quick goals, both with men in the box.
Stamkos launched the Tampa attack with his first-period power-play goal. Just over three minutes later, with Andrew Ference serving a tripping penalty, the Lightning doubled their lead. Harvard graduate Alex Killorn took a pass from Teddy Purcell, cut through the Boston PK, and backhanded the puck past Khudobin.
On just four shots, the Lightning had swiped a 2-0 lead. For Khudobin, who hadn’t started since Feb. 15 against Buffalo, it was hardly the start he wanted.
“I felt like I didn’t play in two weeks,” said Khudobin (20 saves). “At the same time, you pretty much just have to go out there and play, no matter what.”
Khudobin settled in, and he improved as the game progressed. So did Khudobin’s teammates.
The Bruins initiated the rally by scoring their first power-play goal of the year at home. With Brewer banished for interference, the Bruins’ No. 1 power-play unit zipped the puck around.
The Lightning blocked Tyler Seguin’s close-range shot, but Lucic took the puck away from Hedman behind the net and looked for support.
David Krejci took Lucic’s pass and quickly dished to Dougie Hamilton at the point. Just as swiftly, Hamilton spotted Seguin open down low. Because of the rapid puck movement on the perimeter, Garon didn’t have time to set himself for Seguin’s shot. The winger went high glove at 3:22 of the second to make it a 2-1 game.
Soon after that, more quick puck distribution led to the tying goal. Daniel Paille came out with the puck from behind the Tampa net. Paille immediately fed Adam McQuaid at the point. As McQuaid surveyed his options, the Tampa defenders converged on Chris Kelly in front of the net. Tampa’s collapsing formation freed Peverley at the left circle.
Peverley called for the puck. McQuaid gave it to him. Peverley made no mistake.
“Both those guys got their one-timers going right,” Julien said of Seguin and Peverley. “It’s just another situation of our guys who haven’t scored that much that are starting to come around.
“We’ve talked about that for a while now — about certain guys being able to give you a little more. With time, it’s going to come. It’s nice to see those guys score and hopefully get more confidence in doing it more often.”
Prior to the game-winner, Marchand, as usual, was jabbering. Brewer had decked Marchand from behind. Marchand thought Brewer deserved a penalty, and was letting referee Eric Furlatt hear his opinion.
If Marchand is going to keep on scoring, the Bruins will let the fireball chirp as much as he wants.