It’s not the NHL Playoffs. Not yet. But it’s really starting to feel like it.
The Bruins and Lightning got together in a contentious, physical affair at TD Garden Saturday afternoon. The Bruins, as they have 55 other times this year, came out on top 2-1. A win that clinched the Atlantic Division title for Boston, their first since 2019-2020.
Things got crispy right at the jump as players from both teams dropped gloves right after the opening puck drop. Bruins winger and Garnet Hathaway traded blows without Lightning heavyweight Pat Maroon, with Hathaway holding his own but getting the worst of it. Hathaway would have his revenge later.
The Bruins spent the majority of the first period on the power play with five man-advantage opportunities. Boston cashed in once when a shot/pass with from linemate Brad Marchand deflected off Patrice Bergeron’s skate, off a Tampa player and past Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy. The goal was Bergeron’s 27th of the year.
Tampa drew even again, during a Bruins power play. Lightning all world Defenseman Victor Hedman fired a shot that slid up the stick of Charlie McAvoy and past goaltender Linus Ullmark to tie the game at one.
Hathaway (remember him) snapped the tie with 2:28 to go in the second. Hathaway collected a rebound off a wrister from the point by Matt Grzelcyk and slid it past Vasilevskiy for the 2-1 Bruins lead. That score would hold as Boston went on to win it’s 6th straight.
The win improved the Bruins record to 56-11-5. One more win ties the club record set by the 1970-71 team.
Linus Ullmark got the win turning away 26 of 27 shots. He improved to a league-best 36-5-1.
That’s What He Said
Jim Montgomery was fired up entering the postgame press room.
“That’ll get you excited for playoff hockey, yeah!” Montgomery said as he took the podium.
- Boston played without forward A.J. Greer, who was serving a one-game suspension for cross-checking Montreal’s Mike Hoffman in the face in Thursday’s 4-2 victory over the Canadiens.
- The Bruins head to Raleigh for a Sunday game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Boston has lost six straight road games to the Caned by a combined score of 25-7.
- Brandon Carlo rotated back in on defense after missing last game against Montreal.