Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic (62) and Tampa Bay Lightning's Nick Tarnasky (74) fight during the first period.
Boston, MA - Thanks to two goals from Marco Sturm and 35 saves from Tim Thomas, the Boston Bruins defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1, Thursday night in the TD Banknorth Garden.
"I think we are definitely happy with the win," said Boston head coach Claude Julien. "(But) it wasn't a pretty win."
The B's opened the home portion of their schedule in front of a big crowd as the Garden welcomed the Lightning for an Eastern Conference match up.
Both teams looked a little sluggish after Boston's opening ceremony, but rookie Milan Lucic woke up the faithful by winning a clear pugilistic decision over the Bolt's Nick Tarnasky at 2:17.
The Bruins quickly got on the scoreboard when defenseman Andrew Ference deflected a shot off of Peter Schaefer and the puck bounced by Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist. Schaefer got credit for the goal at 3:48.
The early fisticufs were fitting, as the rest of the period resembled a lightweight boxing match up -- the two clubs traded several offensive jabs throughout the first frame, but nobody was able to land a body blow as both goalies performed the rope-a-dope successfully.
At 17:32, Boston's Shawn Thornton and Tampa's Andre Roy continued the theme, but their fight resembled the period and neither side could be declared a clear winner.
However, with just 10-seconds remaining in the stanza, Sturm blazed a wrist shot through traffic, through the Lightning defense, and, finally, through Holmqvist. The score sent the Bruins to the dressing room up, 2-0, and in temporary control of the contest.
The second period did not start well for Black & Gold as some sloppy play in the Boston end led to a Brad Richards' goal for Tampa Bay at 1:45. Tampa Bay maintained control of the session from that early juncture, and only Thomas' solid goaltending kept the Bruins in the lead, 2-1, going into the second break.
"I think that we came out with the intensity that we needed, but I think we faltered along the way," said Julien. "It was a real tough second period."
The beginning of the third period was skated a little more evenly, but as the period progressed, Thomas was, again, consistently tested by the Bolts. As such, Tampa Bay enjoyed the momentum until halfway through the period, when the Bruins came up for a puck in the Boston zone. B's center Marc Savard brought the puck through the zone, dished to his winger Chuck Kobasew, who then passed it to defenseman Mark Stuart. The young blue liner one-timed the puck into the Lightning goal to make the score, 3-1, B's at 9:49.
"I saw Savvy bring the puck up and it kind of looked like a 2-on-2. Their guy was skating with me, but I had a step on him so I just kept going and Savvy found me," said Stuart.
Sturm scored his second of the game at 16:19 when he followed through on an outstanding pass play by linemate Patrice Bergeron and tapped the puck into a yawning net to make the final scorecard read, 4-1, Boston.
"I think it was a good start," said Sturm. "It was the first home game so we were really excited to be back (in Boston).
"We want to be a good home team, so it was a perfect start."
Notes: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs addressed the media as part of the evening's itinerary...The Bruins are now 43-20-20-0 all-time in home opening games and are 11-3-6-0 in their last 20 home openers.
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