November 11, 2013

Rask continues habit of blanking Bolts

By Jesse Connolly

Tuukka Rask denies Lightning winger Teddy Purcell during Monday's matinee. (Photo: Sharon Bradley/New England Hockey Journal)

Final: Boston 3, Tampa Bay 0

Recap: The Bruins once again got off to a dominant start in this one, firing 10 shots at surprise starter Anders Lindback, all while Tuukka Rask needed to make just two stops. Tampa edged closer in scoring chances as the period wore on, but neither team was able to find twine.

In the second, star center Steven Stamkos suffered what's being reported as a broken tibia when -- in the midst of back-checking -- he slid into his own crease and slammed his right shin off the post. The NHL's current co-leader in goals and points left the game on a stretcher.

Boston took over the game shortly afterward, with Patrice Bergeron and Dan Palle tallying 20 seconds apart. After a ho-hum third period, Jarome Iginla capped things off with an empty-netter in the final minute.

Records: Boston 11-5-1, 23 points; Tampa Bay 12-5-0

Key Play of the Game: We'll let the video do the talking:

Connolly's Commendations: This was the best game yet for the B's second line. The trio of Patrice Bergeron, Loui Eriksson and Brad Marchand was clicking all afternoon long. Bergeron picked up his third goal in the last two games. Eriksson picked up an assist for the third straight game. Marchand had some high-quality scoring chances, putting three shots on goal and looking as comfortable as ever deking past defenders en route to the net.

Nice job by Matt Bartkowski stepping in for injured rearguard Adam McQuaid. The Pittsburgh native picked up the second assist on Paille's breakaway goal and was plus-2. He had been minus-1 in each of his last three appearances.

Rask continues to be the MVP for this team. The Finnish netminder stopped all 28 shots he faced and now has two shutouts in three games against the Lightning this season. With the win, he lowered his goals-against average on the year to 1.52.

Connolly's Critiques: While he did notch an assist on Iginla's empty-netter, Milan Lucic finished with zero shots for the second game in a row. 

Notes: Rask now has a 0.33 goals-against average against the Lightning this season, as Boston improved to 3-0-0 versus the Bolts. ... Torey Krug extended his point streak to four games (2g, 2a) with an assist on Bergeron's second-period goal.

Final Thoughts: Much like Saturday's game against the Leafs, this contest featured dominant stretches and a couple of dangerous lulls for the Bruins. All in all, it was an efficient win for the Black and Gold, who faced a team missing its No. 1 center (Stamkos) and a top four defenseman (Sami Salo) for most of the second half of the afternoon.

Next: The Bruins will welcome the Blue Jackets to town on Thursday night.

Twitter: @JesseNEHJ