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Friday, March 4, 2011

Bruins win seventh straight, vault to second in Eastern Conference

The Boston Bruins are clicking on all cylinders right now. It makes you wish that the regular season would fast forward and the playoffs could start like this weekend.

The Bs won their seventh straight game last night, 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden, and with the two points they jumped over Tampa Bay into second place in the Eastern Conference.

Boston (38-19-7) is now only three points behind top-seed Philadelphia and they've proven that they can play any style of game and usually come out on top: high-scoring, low-scoring, chippy, filled with fights. It doesn't matter what you throw at them at the moment, the Bruins are the NHL's hottest team.

The Lightning (37-20-7) scored first as defenseman Eric Brewer found the back of the net at 4:04 of the second period, assisted by Blair Jones and Steve Downie.

However, it only took 2:02 for Bruins rookie defenseman Steve Kampfer to tie it up with a seeing-eye slap shot from the point. Kampfer's fifth goal of the season was assisted by Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley.

It doesn't seem to be their way at all since they're a finesse team but Tampa Bay tried to push the Bruins around which ended rather comically. Shawn Thornton and Downie got game misconducts in the second period and Milan Lucic dropped the gloves with Brewer.

Throughout the contest, the Lightning exhibited a Canadiens-like tendency to fall, trip, turtle and basically employ every cheap trick in the book. Even good guy Martin St. Louis stuck his skate out which propelled Mark Recchi into Tampa Bay's net. Strange.

Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas (27 saves; 29-8-6) and Lightning backup Mike Smith (26 saves) both played well and it looked like we were headed to overtime.

That was until Lucic chipped in a bad-angle shot at 16:18 of the third period for the game-winner, his 28th of the season. Linemates David Krejci and Nathan Horton assisted and got in Smith's way on the goal. There was a pile of bodies in Tampa Bay's crease and the puck popped out. Lucic got to it first and threw the shot on net which turned out to be the difference.

Lucic deserved it after he had had the post earlier in the game. Lightning superstar Steve Stamkos also had a shot rattle off the post and then right to Thomas.

Kampfer left the game with a mild concussion so he'll probably miss a few games.

Boston hosts Pittsburgh tomorrow night as they try to grab their eighth consecutive win against the Penguins who will be without the injured Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

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