Bruins hang on for 5-4 victory over Lightning
TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—When you’ve struggled like the Boston Bruins have lately, any win is a good one.
“Two points are so valuable right now,” coach Claude Julien said Thursday night after the Bruins nearly blew a five-goal lead before hanging on for a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
“We’ve lost some games that we should have won, and this one here I think we deserved to win. But we certainly did everything to shoot ourselves in the foot and make it exciting. We need to learn to control our games a lot better. If we can’t do it for 60 minutes, we’re going to get more of that.”
Michael Ryder(notes) and Milan Lucic(notes) each scored twice for the Bruins, who have put together their longest winning streak in more than six weeks—three games— after losing 10 straight. The victory also lifted them into a tie with Tampa Bay for the eighth—and final—playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
Miroslav Satan(notes) also scored for the Bruins before leaving the game with a cut on one of his hands caused by a skate. The team did not disclose which hand was injured, and said his status would be updated Friday.
The Lightning allowed four first-period goals and had their longest winning streak since November 2007 stopped at four games.
“Obviously, we did enough to win the game. … You’ve got to try to stay positive, so you’ve got to focus on the positive more than the negative,” Lucic said. “I think that’s the feeling around here right now. We did what we needed to do to win.”
Ryder scored both of his goals in the opening period. He got an assist on a third, when his shot from in front of the net deflected off Lucic and Lightning defenseman Max Smaby before skipping past Lightning goalie Antero Niittymaki(notes).
Tampa Bay had allowed three or fewer goals in nine consecutive games, going 7-1-1. Niittymaki was pulled after the opening period, and the Bruins scored on their first shot against backup Mike Smith(notes) to make it 5-0.
“It was very frustrating, obviously. … We didn’t really give Niitty a chances,” Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier(notes) said. “There was a lot of tic-tac-toes that they made. … Two or three goals we let them in the perimeter and they got some tap-ins.”
Tampa Bay began to dig itself out of the hole when St. Louis scored twice in less than 3 minutes to increase his points streak to eight games. Steven Stamkos(notes) assisted on both goals to extend his career-best points streak to 11 games.
Downie, with assists from Stamkos and Victor Hedman(notes), cut Boston’s lead to two goals with just under 9 minutes remaining. Hedman and St. Louis assisted on his second goal before the furious rally ran out of steam.
“We showed character, but playing half the game is not going to be good enough, especially against teams like Boston that are fighting, too, to get in,” St. Louis said. “That first period was pretty embarrassing, but we fought back and I’m proud of that.”
NOTES: The Bruins had not won three straight since Dec. 21-27. … St. Louis has nine goals and four assists in the past eight games. Stamkos, who finished with three assists, has eight goals and 11 assists during his 11-game points streak. … Bruins RW Mark Recchi(notes) played in his 1,549th NHL game, tying him for ninth place on the career list with Alex Delvecchio. … Boston scored more than three goals in a game for the first time in 17 games, a stretch that began after a 4-1 victory over Ottawa on Jan. 5.