BOSTON – After a wait that’s been pretty rough over the last couple of years, the Boston Bruins are back in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
It wasn’t easy as evidenced by the Bruins losing leading scorer Brad Marchand to a game misconduct in the first period, but they powered through the adversity and rolled right over an out-gunned Tampa Bay bunch with a 4-0 shutout win at TD Garden.
The regulation victory clinches at least a wild card spot for the Black and Gold, but they could still nab the third seed in the Atlantic Division with a couple more wins to close out the season.
After a bit of a scoreless, nervous first period that saw Marchand get thrown out with a game misconduct after spearing Jake Dotchin in the groin, the Bruins responded with a strong, commanding second period.
It all started with the Bruins killing off the five minute Tampa power play following Marchand’s selfish, dumb actions, and then building on that momentum.
Drew Stafford snapped a nine game goal-scoring drought with a roofed backhanded bid on the rebound of an Adam McQuaid point shot, and showed some good poise waiting a beat before the shot into an open area. The Bruins followed about 10 minutes later during 4-on-4 play with Riley connecting to David Pastrnak for a smoked one-timer from a bad angle for his 33rd of the season after No. 88 found a nice shooting seam without the puck. Zdeno Chara scored the Bruins' third goal with just under 11 minutes left in the third period. On a power play, Torey Krug found Chara in the right circle. The defenseman blasted a one-timer off Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy's pad into the back of the net. Pastrnak finished off the Bruins' scoring with his second goal on an open net in the final minutes.
The rest was up to Tuukka Rask, who looked solid and strong through the entire game and shut Tampa down with 17 saves in the second period as they created some decent scoring chances.