The Boston Bruins hardly had their ‘A’ game in their opening moments against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They relinquished the game’s first nine shots and trailed 1-0 8:57 in on Nick Paul’s first tally of the night.
In their opening tilt of a seven-game gauntlet, the Bruins appeared ripe for a letdown against a Bolts squad coming off their third straight Stanley Cup final appearance.
There was no letdown.
In the process, the Bruins witnessed another accolade for an all-time great during Monday’s 5-3 triumph.
Patrice Bergeron scored his 1,000th career point after notching a secondary assist at 15:08 of the second period on Brad Marchand’s sixth goal of the season. The Bruins cleared their bench to celebrate Bergeron’s latest milestone after Marchand extended the Boston lead to 4-1.
“It was kind of a surreal moment,” Bergeron told NESN’s Sophia Jurksztowicz. “It was cool to see everyone jump on like that. I’m very thankful for all those guys. It’s a big part of what makes it fun to play this game.”
A handful of the Bruins’ supporting cast members within that sea of humanity had their own tone-setting moments before Bergeron’s milestone.
David Krejci got the Bruins off and running, delivering a wicked slapshot past Andrei Vasiliveskiy for his fourth goal in three games.
A nicked-up Nick Foligno put the Bruins ahead for good early in the second period on a greasy power-play goal in the net-front area.
After further review, Charlie Coyle extended Boston’s lead to 3-1 a mere 31 seconds later with a doorstep marker.
The Lightning provided a decent pushback in the third following David Pastrnak’s tap-in power play tally on DeBrusk’s feed. A Tomas Nosek turnover led directly to Rudolfs Balcers’s third goal of the year. A little over six minutes later, Paul notched his second lamplighter of the night moments after the officials assessed a questionable slashing minor to Coyle.
Jim Montgomery called his timeout after the Lightning pulled back within striking distance. Behind Linus Ullmark’s clutch stops, the Bruins recovered from Tampa Bay’s third-period surge to improve to 17-2-0.
Here’s what we learned following a memorable night in Central Florida.
The Bruins celebrated a captain’s milestone.
The Bruins didn’t necessarily have a bulletin board counting down Bergeron’s track to 1,000 career points. But over the last week, they were all aware that he was inching closer to another illustrious accolade.
Marchand and the rest of the team discussed their celebration ideas for Bergeron’s milestone. The plan came to fruition on Monday after Bergeron set the sequence for Marchand’s tally with a feed to DeBrusk en route to history.
Bergeron first knew he became the fourth Bruin to notch 1,000 career points after Marchand pointed in his direction.
“I saw Marshy’s reaction, and that’s when I realized that I touched it, so I got [the 1,000th point],” Bergeron added in his postgame interview with NESN.
Boston’s captain wasn’t aware of the group celebration. Upon his initial hugs with Marchand, DeBrusk, Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Carlo, the Bruins all left the bench to join in on a heart-warming moment.
“We talked about it as a group. We’ve seen in the past where guys get to celebrate with him. It is a special moment. It doesn’t happen often, and it couldn’t be with a better guy,” Marchand said as he joined Bergeron in that postgame interview with Jurksztowicz.
“Just a great opportunity to be with him and have the whole group celebrate with him. We’re happy to be there and be a part of it, and we’re all just so happy for him. Another milestone for such an incredible career, and obviously [he’s] a Hall of Famer. It’s fun to see.”
As the other half of the dynamic duo, Marchand fittingly finished the honors of Bergeron’s 1,000th point. But the goal itself became secondary to the celebration.
The humbled captain and future Hall of Famer cherished every moment.
“That was probably the most special thing about it — to have all the guys jump on and share that with them,” Bergeron said to reporters inside the visiting locker room at Amalie Arena. “Definitely something I’ll remember for a long time.”
As Bergeron etched his name in the record books, another veteran continued his bounce-back season.
Foligno ‘stitches’ his way to a timely marker.
The former Blue Jackets captain underwent facial repairs after taking a puck to the face while working on net-front drills during the morning skate. Aside from a brief trip to the locker room in the second period, Foligno wouldn’t miss a shift.
The hockey gods must have provided some good luck for Foligno. In reality, he’s earned his fortunate bounces following a disappointing first year in Boston.
Foligno has already surpassed his goal total from a year ago. On Monday, he doubled last year’s outing with his fourth goal of the year at a pivotal moment.
Parked at his usual spot in front of the net in the secondary power play unit, Foligno dove for a loose puck off a Vasilievskiy rebound to give the Bruins the 2-1 lead.
“I think it was an important goal at the time with where the first period kind of took us and a huge goal from Krech [Krejci] to come out of the period tied. But then we wanted to get to our game,” Foligno said to the media. “Obviously, we didn’t have that jump that we needed to have in the first period and they came out [flying]. We knew they were going to push, but I think it shows what we have in here to not get flustered by that, either. We came out in the second, and we just took over.”
Thanks to their stalwart in net, Foligno and the Bruins never looked back following that rough first period.
Ullmark held the fort… again.
Continuing the trend from Ullmark’s last start in Thursday’s win over the Flyers, the Bruins came out slow. This time, they encountered their rough opening 20 against one of the NHL’s premiere squads.
The Lightning pounced first on Paul’s opening marker. Knowing the Bruins would eventually find their skating legs, Jon Cooper’s squad continued to push, generating more quality scoring chances in transition.
As the defensemen struggled to contain Tampa’s attack, Ullmark remained calm. The Swede, who came into Monday’s tilt leading the league in the three major goaltending statistical categories, delivered another stout outing with 32 saves, including 13 in the opening frame.
Ullmark faced several Grade-A chances all night, from breakaways to tips and one-timers. Eventually, the Bruins provided Ullmark with that support to continue their torrid early-season run.
“I think we showed some resiliency tonight… kind of an up-and-down kind of game. But we were opportunistic, and we shut it down in the end,” Bergeron added. “Linus made some great saves, but overall, it was a team effort. And that’s all you can ask for.”
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Update on Youtube Bergeron reaches 1000-point milestone
Patrice Bergeron gets an assist against the Tampa Bay Lightning on a Brad Marchand goal to reach 1,000 points in his career.