20:00 3rd period: Bruins 5, Lightning 2
Well, Stamkos gave his best effort in this one, scoring twice on seemingly-unstoppable shots and nearly putting in a third if not for a fantastic effort by Thomas, but the Bruins were too much for the Lightning tonight. Chara finished the game with three assists (just the third time in his career he's dished out a trio of helpers) and the Bruins' defense held Tampa to just 18 shots on net. The Bruins will stay home and host the surging Washington Capitals (who lost to the Sabres, 5-1, tonight and fell back to ninth in the Eastern Conference) for a Thursday night game.
Final shot total: Bruins 38, Lightning 18
19:53 3rd period: Bruins 5, Lightning 2
Rich Peverly finds the empty net as the Bruins seal it up.
15:50 3rd period: Bruins 4, Lightning 2
Patrice Bergeron carried the puck into the zone and left a pass behind him for Marchand, who fired a wrister top shelf.
11:44 3rd period: Bruins 3, Lightning 2
Every puck Chara touches tonight appears to be magical. After Thomas made two big-time saves on the penalty kill, Chara ripped another slap shot from the point that was deflected to Brian Rolston. Rolston swung around the net and left it in front for Benoit Pouliot who slamed it into the open net. Roloson had made a diving effort on the initial shot and Chris Kelly appeared to block him from getting back into position in the crease, but the play was reviewed and ultimately ruled in favor of the Bruins.
9:07 3rd period: Lightning 2, Bruins 2
Maybe some of these calls aren't going the Bruins way, but Seguin has not had his best game in this one. The 20-year-old was trying to fight through some bodies in the offensive zone, but his stick hung in the air and the official saw it as high-sticking. Bruins are back on the penalty kill.
5:46 3rd period: Lightning 2, Bruins 2
Claude Julien is not going to be happy about that one. Johnny Boychuk, defending in his own zone, was a victim of some bad luck as he turned around and his stick caught the legs of a Lightning player directly in front of the referee. Boychuk was sent to the box for tripping and Julien made his feelings about the call known to the officiating crew, but it didn't matter. Just 22 seconds into the power play, Stamkos fired a perfectly-placed one-timer into the top left corner to even the score.
2:59 3rd period: Bruins 2, Lightning 1
If you forgot the Bruins were starting the third period down a man, don't feel too bad. Lucic and Campbell had shorthanded opportunities while the Lightning failed to get a shot on net during the power play. Luci's shot rang off the inside of the post.
20:00 2nd period: Bruins 2, Lightning 1
Seguin may have let his emotion get the best of him to end the second period and it'll cost the Bruins two minutes on the penalty kill. After Stamkos hit Seguin hard on the Bruins' previous possession and remained on top of him for a good five to seven seconds, Seguin then came in late on Stamkos and sent him straight to the ice. Seguin's stick appeared to wrap up Stamkos and the Bruins forward was sent to the box for the tripping. Stamkos took some time getting up and seemed to be favoring his back. Big PK for the Bruins to start the third.
Shots after two: Bruins 23, Lightning 8.
15:05 2nd period: Bruins 2, Lightning 1
It's hard enough to stop one Chara slap shot, much less two. But three? C'mon. Chara's third rifle from the point during a brief 4-on-4 (Campbell and Aulie took a pair of minors for roughing) bounces off Roloson's leg pad and right out to Dennis Seidenberg, who put away the rebound and gave the Bs a lead. Chara has created both goals for the home team tonight.
12:03 2nd period: Lightning 1, Bruins 1
Eric Brewer just got robbed. Gorgeous shot that pinged off both the post and cross bar and flung out around Thomas' back. Tampa has just six shots on net, but the Bruins will need more than just a shot advantage to win this game. Could really use a score before the third.
4:43 2nd period: Lightning 1, Bruins 1
Doh, Marchand's bonehead play of the night comes when he cross checks a Tampa player right in front of the referee, sending the Bruins on the penalty kill for the first time this evening.
3:55 2nd period: Lightning 1, Bruins 1
The energy line continues to make things happen with two more prime goal-scoring chances to open the second. Thornton with some creativity behind Tampa's net set up Campbell with a chance in front, but he banged the shot right off Roloson's leg pad. Jordan Caron then tipped a pass to Thornton a few seconds later, but Thornton couldn't stay balanced to rip a shot on target.
20:00 1st period: Lightning 1, Bruins 1
The Bruins played a solid period of two-way hockey, bolstered by a strong forecheck and a lot of possession, but they might be kicking themselves for a few missed opportunities. Marchand and Thornton missed breakaways, Seguin missed a wide-open look on an off-balanced goaltender, and there were several scrums in front of Tampa's net that were never converted to points.
Shots after one: Bruins 11, Lightning 5.
18:50 1st period: Lightning 1, Bruins 1
After a 35-game scoring hiatus, Thornton nearly had his second of the night on a self-created breakaway chance. Thornton exploded out of his own zone and dangled the puck in front of Roloson before firing a wrister glove side, but the Canadian goaltender deflected it away.
14:52 1st period: Lightning 1, Bruins 1
A crafty breakout left Brad Marchand all alone skating toward the Tampa net, but Marchand was tripped up by Keith Aulie, who broke up the play. No penalty shot was awarded but Aulie was sent to the sin bin. Just seconds later, Tyler Seguin couldn't convert on an open look from the left circle.
10:54 1st period: Lightning 1, Bruins 1
Chara must be all fired up after his pregame ceremony -- he collected the puck at the blue line and received little pressure, so he stick-handled toward net himself. Chara drove wide and took a quick shot just in front of Roloson. Roloson made the initial save, but Shawn Thornton was there to put home the rebound. The play would've never started, though, had it not been for Gregory Campbell's strong effort on the forecheck to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
5:03 1st period: Lightning 1, Bruins 0
Steven Stamkos didn't waste any time tonight, slotting a wrister under Thomas' stick side to put the Lightning ahead on their first shot on goal. The play started when Milan Lucic lost the puck in the offensive zone and Martin St. Louis passed it ahead to Stamkos, who scored his 54th of the season. No two Bruins players combined can match the 22-year-old's total.
Tim Thomas earned the start in net after getting the night off on Sunday in place of Marty Turco, who picked up his first win as a Bruin in a 3-2 victory over the Ducks. Thomas is 3-1 with a 1.50 goals-against average over his last four games. Dwayne Roloson got the nod for the Lightning.
There was a special tribute to Zdeno Chara before the Bruins took the ice tonight in celebration of Chara’s 1,000th career game played, which came on Saturday against the Kings in Los Angeles. The Bruins presented Chara with a Tiffany crystal and a Tony Harris portrait to commemorate his achievement.
The 14-year NHL veteran made a short, but heartfelt speech where he thanked the fans for coming, and they gave him a standing ovation in return. He’s only spent six years in the Hub, but it’d be hard to make a list of Boston’s most beloved athletes without including Chara’s name near the top.