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Lightning spoil Brad Marchand's 1,000th game

February 14, 2024, 10:19 PM ET [6 Comments]
Ty Anderson
Boston Bruins Blogger •Bruins Feature Columnist • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Tuesday night at TD Garden presented what was a kind of good news, bad news night for Jim Montgomery and the Bruins.

The Bruins rallied from a two-goal deficit to earn a point against the Lightning, which against the Bolts’ Andrei Vasilevskiy is always a positive. But it was the Black and Gold’s continued power-play woes that prevented them from earning the second point in this contest, as the Bruins stumbled to an 0-for-6 mark on the man advantage and ultimately dropped a 3-2 final to the Lightning in the shootout as a result.

“[Tampa Bay] scored that, second goal and we still felt like we were going to be able to get back in the game, and we did. Sometimes you lose games in this league and you feel like you deserve better, and that’s going to happen,” Montgomery said following the loss. “I was proud of our effort [but] our power play needs to come through for us there. Can’t go 0-for-6, you know. That’s an area that we have to look at right now.”

The struggles were especially tough to swallow when you look at the context of the Black and Gold’s power-play opportunities, headlined by a pair of power-play opportunities with less than 10 minutes to go in the third period of a 2-2 game. If there’s ever a ‘gotta have it’ kind of power-play chance, it’s right then and there. And the Bruins got two of ’em, but failed to make either count.

Tampa entered this contest in the top half of the league in their penalty kill, but the B’s issues on the man advantage had more to do with themselves than anything the Bolts did, according to Montgomery.

“I really don’t analyze what the other team’s doing. I just don’t think our puck decisions and our puck movement were quick enough,” Montgomery, whose team is mired in a 2-for-28 stretch on the man advantage since their home-ice win over the Jets, offered. “I didn’t think we passed the puck crisp enough to be able to beat the execution of their penalty kill.”

Down 2-0 behind goals from Erik Cernak and Nikita Kucherov, the Bruins started their push with a Charlie McAvoy goal that brought them back within one, and knotted things with a James van Riemsdyk net-front finish on what was a 6-on-5 advantage for the Bruins on a delayed penalty.

The goal was van Riemsdyk’s second in the last five games after recording just one goal in the last 17 games before that.

But aside from the two-goal slip in the middle frame, the 29-year-old Vasilevskiy stood tall, and finished with this game with 36 saves on 38 shots faced. This was a night where the Lightning ace in goal looked good as the box score would indicate, too, as the Bolts were outshot in all three periods, while Vasilevskiy was forced to make six saves in overtime before stopping all three Boston shooters in the shootout.

The Bruins’ Linus Ullmark, meanwhile, allowed an ugly-looking goal on the first shot he faced, but buckled down from there, and finished with 23 saves in the losing effort.

With the loss, the Bruins dropped to 1-2-1 since returning to action from the NHL All-Star break, which is their worst four-game segment since the 0-2-2 slide the Bruins were on entering the Christmas break.

Marchand celebrates 1,000th game with strong night

Bruins captain Brad Marchand hit the 1,000th game mark, and celebrated in Marchand fashion, with a relentless effort that included two assists by the night's end.

Marchand has made it clear that this is just another milestone (and that he has greater aspirations both for himself and his team), but he did allow himself to 'enjoy' the moment as best as he could prior to the puck drop in this one.

Everything else

- One of the best games of the year from Charlie McAvoy, I thought. A goal and a team-high seven shots on goal. The B's need more 'McAvoy takeover' nights down the stretch.

- Between Brad Marchand getting trucked a week ago and Linus Ullmark taking a shot to the head in the third period of this game, I think fans are once again getting sick of seeing the Bruins thumped without a response from the team. Brutal.

- Keep an eye on the health of David Pastrnak for the next little bit. Boston's superstar was in some obvious discomfort in the second period of Tuesday's contest and though he did not leave the game (he told us there's nothing wrong... because he finished the game), but he did undergo some additional evaluation following the game, per source. (Pastrnak missed Wednesday's practice, too.)

Up next: Montgomery’s squad will look to rebound Thursday night when the Kraken come to town.
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