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Tampa Bay at Boston

Bruins start fast, hold off Lightning to extend hot streak

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins are playing so well that they're starting to concentrate on what goes wrong in their victories.

Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel and Michael Ryder scored in the opening 10:46 and the Bruins coasted to their 14th victory in 16 games, 5-3 against the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday night.

The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but the only thing most of the players wanted to talk about afterward was how they didn't play well after the opening period.

Zdeno Chara had a power-play goal in the second period and P.J. Axelsson added an empty-netter to help the Bruins win their fifth straight.

"We're not playing the way we usually play against teams," Chara said. "Just because we worked hard in the first period -- we played a little too comfortable, I guess. Maybe we're a little too confident."

Boston, which scored twice on the power play, entered with the league's best scoring percentage at home with the man advantage.

The Bruins, 10-1-1 at the TD Banknorth Garden this season, didn't waste much time taking control. With Tampa Bay defenseman Phil Ranger off for slashing, Lucic, positioned at the top of the crease, redirected Dennis Wideman's pass by goaltender Mike Smith at 6:44.

The Bruins made it 2-0 when Kessel's shot caromed off Ranger's stick and behind Smith at 9:29. Ryder scored on a wrist shot from the left circle only 1:17 later.

Tampa Bay called timeout to regroup after Boston's fast start, and the Bruins might have relaxed.

"Maybe. It does matter. It shouldn't," Wideman said of a possible letdown. "That's something that shouldn't happen. You look at the elite teams like Detroit, when they get leads like that they keep coming at you."

Boston coach Claude Julien agreed.

"Once we got a comfortable lead, we decided to get cute," Julien said.

Adam Hall, Vincent Lecavalier and Paul Szczechura scored for the Lightning, who lost their eighth straight -- including a 3-1 loss at home to the Bruins four days earlier.

"I don't know if we're a dumb team or we just don't get it, or we don't deserve to be in this league," Smith said. "I mean, we're making the same mistakes we talk about, game in and game out."

The schedule doesn't get any easier the next few weeks for Tampa Bay, which plays six of its next seven at home.

"To me, it's an embarrassment when you have more than three or four individuals not ready to play," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said.

Szczechura scored with 17.2 seconds left after the Lightning pulled Smith for an extra skater, but Axelsson sealed it with 10 seconds left.

Kessel extended his point streak to 12 games (10 goals, five assists), the longest active in the league.

The Lightning had pulled to 3-1 when Hall, crashing the net, had Evgeny Artyukhin's shot bounce off his body and behind goalie Tim Thomas.

Thomas, who entered the night with a league-best 1.83 goals-against average, made 26 saves and improved to 8-1-1 in his past 10 starts.

One of the few bright spots for Tampa Bay was a spectacular save by Smith on Axelsson's second-period penalty shot.

Axelsson cut extremely wide, going near his own bench, skated in and attempted to fake out Smith, who reached back and made a glove stop on a backhand shot just before the puck crossed the red line.

With the Bruins skating with a two-man advantage, Chara one-timed a rising shot inside the right post with 1:17 left in the second.

Notes

  • Boston C Stephane Yelle collided with linesman Mark Shewchyk along the boards in the second period and headed straight for the locker room. He did not return.
  • Axelsson is 0-for-3 in his career on penalty shots.
  • Wideman got his 100th career point on Lucic's goal.
  • Boston LW Marco Sturm missed his ninth consecutive game since suffering a concussion and D Aaron Ward was sidelined for his second successive game with a leg injury.
  • The Lightning reassigned D Matt Smaby to Norfolk (AHL) on Sunday.
  • Boston recalled C Vladimir Sobotka on an emergency basis after the game.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Boston's David Krejci introduces Tampa Bay's Andrej Meszaro to his teammates in the second period.  (AP)
Boston's David Krejci introduces Tampa Bay's Andrej Meszaro to his teammates in the second period. (AP)
Scoreboard
Tampa Bay (6-13-8)0123
Boston  (19-4-4) «3115
Three Stars
D. Wideman
BOS


Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
P. Kessel
BOS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 1
Z. Chara
BOS


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

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Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
06:44Power Play - Milan Lucic (7), Slap Shot. Assist: Wideman, Kessel
09:29Phil Kessel (17), Snap Shot, Unassisted.
10:46Michael Ryder (7), Wrist Shot. Assist: Hnidy, Hunwick
2ND PERIOD
13:06Adam Hall (2), Backhand Shot. Assist: Artyukhin, Ranger
18:43Power Play - Zdeno Chara (5), Slap Shot. Assist: Krejci, Wideman
3RD PERIOD
09:27Vincent Lecavalier (11), Tip-In. Assist: St. Louis, Ranger
19:42Paul Szczechura (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Malik, Meszaros
19:50P.J. Axelsson (1), Empty Net. Assist: Bergeron
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
02:55Stamkos, 2 min, Holding the Stick
05:00Ranger, 2 min, Slashing
2ND PERIOD
45.0Kobasew, 2 min, Interference
04:01Artyukhin, 2 min, Hooking
09:25Savard, 2 min, Hooking
09:32St. Louis, 2 min, Holding
17:13Downie, 2 min, Roughing
18:01Jokinen, 2 min, Holding
3RD PERIOD
02:55Krejci, 2 min, Hooking
05:38Krejci, 2 min, Interference
10:21Malik, 2 min, Interference
Shots On Goal
 123T
Tampa Bay591529
Boston137424
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Mike Smith59:04194
Tim Thomas59:51263
Power Play Conversions
Power Play
Tampa Bay0-for-4
Boston2-for-7
Game Information
Attendance - 16973
Referees - Kyle Rehman, Eric Furlatt
Linesmen - Michel Cormier, Mark Shewchyk
 
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