The Bruins have a good record.
That sounds simple, yes, but it’s the biggest possible takeaway after the B’s swept their back-to-back in Florida by taking a 3-1 victory over the Lightning Saturday at Amalie Arena. With the win, the Bruins are now 6-3-1 and sit second in the Atlantic Division. Though they’re just 10 games into the season, their turnaround after an 0-3-0 start is nothing short of impressive. That they were able to beat a good Lightning team on the road in a low-scoring game with their backup goaltender in net is just as encouraging.
Prior to Friday’s game, the Bruins had not won a game without scoring five goals, a sign that the team was dependent upon its highly productive offense to cover up for its shortcomings. The B’s took 3-1 victories on back-to-back games, however, keeping the struggling Lightning quiet to leapfrog them in the standings. Jonas Gustavsson stopped 21 of the 22 shots he saw on the night, with a Brad Marchand empty netter sealing the win in a close game.
David Krejci‘s points streak came to an end at nine games, but the Bruins are now 6-0-1 in their last seven games and sit behind only the Canadiens in the Atlantic.
Here are four more things we learned Saturday:
CONNOLLY GETS REVENGE AS PP STRIKES AGAIN
After Brad Marchand drew a penalty during a third-period penalty kill, the Bruins were on the tail of a power play when Erik Condra was whistled for a very weak trip against Torey Krug. That gave the Bruins a 13-second two-man advantage, which proved to be enough time for Marchand to win a faceoff and set up a Brett Connolly goal to break a 1-1 tie. The goal came with four seconds left on the first penalty, meaning the Bruins remained on the power play for 1:51. Claude Julien deployed Connolly, Marchand, Jimmy Hayes, Zdeno Chara and Colin Miller for the 5-on-3 on which Connolly scored.
With his goal in Saturday’s game, Connolly now has points in six straight games (four goals, two assists). It also provided the former Lightning draft pick (sixth overall in 2010) a big moment against the team that traded him last season after deciding he was the odd man out in a deep group of wings.
It’s worth noting that the penalty Marchand drew was the second of the game and the third he’s drawn over the last two nights. The assist on Connolly’s goal means that Marchand has eight points (four goals and four assists) in six games since returning from a concussion on Oct. 17.
KEMPPAINEN RETURNS, RANDELL SITS
Joonas Kemppainen returned to the lineup Saturday after missing Friday’s game with an undisclosed injury that had also forced him to miss a pair of shifts Tuesday against the Coyotes.
With Kemppainen returning, Tyler Randell was made a healthy scratch. Randell joined Zach Trotman, who has now been scratched for nine consecutive games.
The lineup to begin the game was as follows, but it didn’t last:
PASTRNAK SITS AS JULIEN SHUFFLES LINES
Claude Julien began tinkering with the lines in the first period, playing Chris Kelly in Ryan Spooner’s place on the shift on which Matt Beleskey scored. Midway through the second period, the lines were almost completely changed.
The most notable change Julien made was to essentially bench David Pastrnak, playing Kelly in his place on David Krejci’s line with Loui Eriksson. Joonas Kemppainen jumped up to replace Kelly with Hayes and Beleskey, with Spooner being dropped to a rarely used fourth line with Pastrnak and Zac Rinaldo. Pastrnak ended up taking just two shifts in the second period and one shift in the third, with Boston’s top line of Patrice Bergeron between Brad Marchand and Brett Connolly the only trio not changed.
BELESKEY NOTCHES SECOND WITH BRUINS
Beleskey didn’t get off to the hottest start with the Bruins, but with three points in his last three games (one goal, two assists), perhaps he’s starting to find his way. The shift on which Beleskey scored his second goal as a Bruin was far from graceful, but it showed the benefit of having wingers like him and Jimmy Hayes on the same line.
With Hayes battling Victor Hedman in the corner, the Dorchester native managed to get the puck to Colin Miller at the point as he was losing his balance. Miller fired a shot from the point that yielded a big rebound, with Beleskey battling his way to it and managing to score off-balance from the high slot.