One game after blowing a three-goal, third-period lead to the surging Buffalo Sabres, the Bruins took it out on Tampa Bay, tying the game on Zdeno Chara’s goal with 46.6 seconds left in regulation and beating the Lightning 6-5 when Glen Murray scored just 17 seconds into overtime.
“We haven’t given the fans much to cheer about,” said Murray, who also had a pair of assists. “But, obviously wins make the fans happy, plain and simple. And that was a big win for us, so hopefully we can get on a roll.”
Boston has won just four games this season – two against Tampa Bay. In addition to Thursday’s loss to Buffalo, the Bruins also blew a chance to go into overtime last week when Montreal scored with 1.2 seconds left in regulation.
“We’ve been through some tough times, these are really tough times,” said Marc Savard, who had two goals and three assists. “We could have kicked the can and said, ‘The hell with it,’ especially tonight. This really credits our hockey club, the kind of people we have in here.”
Tampa Bay scored a club-record four times in the second period to take a 5-4 lead, twice answering with goals less than 30 seconds after the Bruins scored. But after the teams played most of the third period without a goal, Boston showed it can strike quickly, too.
The Bruins pulled goalie Tim Thomas – a third-period sub for struggling Hannu Toivonen – with 90 seconds left, then picked up a 6-on-4 skating advantage with 52.8 seconds left when Cory Sarich went off with a double minor. Six seconds later, Savard’s shot bounced off goalie Marc Denis and into the air in front of the net, where Chara was stationed.
The six-foot-nine defenceman swatted with his glove and his stick and hit the crossbar-high puck into the net as he was being cross-checked by Filip Kuba. A goal was signalled, but it took four minutes for the officials to confirm it from the videotape.
The goal sent the game into overtime, and the cross-check gave the Bruins a 5-on-3.
Murray ended it quickly.
“They’re up two men and they scored,” said Martin St. Louis, who had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay. “Now it’s tied and they still got two men because we got penalties. We feel very fortunate that we were able to hold them for the last 50 seconds so we could get that point.”
Thomas stopped seven shots in relief of Toivonen, who gave up five goals on 21 shots before being pulled after two periods.
Vincent Lecavalier’s four assists tied a team record and gave him 15 points (six goals, nine assists) during an eight-game scoring streak. St. Louis also has a point in eight straight (nine goals, five assists).
Lecavalier and St. Louis assisted on Nikita Alezeev’s goal just 10 seconds after the Bruins took a 3-2 lead midway through the second. Tampa Bay struck quickly again to go up 5-4, getting an unassisted goal from Dimitry Afanasenkov with 1:46 left in the middle period just 27 seconds after Boston tied it.
“There were some weird things going on there in the second period,” said Brad Richards, who scored the Lightning’s second goal. “Turnovers, bounces. That’s not going to happen every period.”
Marc Denis stopped 27 shots for the Lightning, who have beaten the Bruins in Boston just twice in franchise history.
Notes: No Tampa Bay defenceman has scored this season. … The Lightning scored four goals in the second period – the most they’ve netted in any period this season. … Toivonen made his first start since Oct. 21.