TAMPA, Fla. – Vincent Lecavalier had a milestone night and the Tampa Bay Lightning continued their winning ways at the St. Pete Times Forum on Saturday night. Hosting the Boston Bruins for the first time this season, the Lightning improved to 9-3-1 at home as they skated to a 4-1 victory.
Scoring twice and adding one assist, Lecavalier recorded his 250th career goal and 300th career assist in the victory. Skating in his ninth NHL season Lecavalier extended his lead as the franchise’s all-time point scorer, adding goal 251 for 551 points through 655 games.
With the victory, head coach John Tortorella tied “Miracle on Ice” coach Herb Brooks for third on the list of most wins by a United States-born coach. The win was the 219th NHL victory of his career, setting him only 16 wins behind the league’s all-time leader Bob Johnson.
Lecavalier opened the scoring 5:45 into the first period with his 17th goal of the season. After intercepting a pass by Zdeno Chara in front of the net, Lecavalier skated to the top of the crease for an initial shot. The Lightning center gained control of the rebound to fire the puck over the sprawling Bruins netminder, Tim Thomas, for the score.
Minutes later Thomas came up with a pair of strong saves as the Lightning looked to extend their lead. Controlling the puck off an offensive zone faceoff win, defenseman Paul Ranger snapped a wrist shot through traffic that Thomas snagged with his glove. Shortly after Lecavalier fed the puck from behind the net to Martin St. Louis at the top of the crease, but Thomas covered the attempt.
Despite the saves, the Bruins netminder was unable to hold off the Lightning on a 5-on-3 man-advantage late in the frame. With Vladimir Sobotka and Dennis Wideman serving minor penalties, Lecavalier popped a one-timed shot off a pass by Brad Richards over Thomas’ left leg.
Early in the second period Thomas held Richards off on a shorthanded breakaway attempt, making a right pad save as the Lightning took a shot deep in the slot.
Goaltender Johan Holmqvist responded with a handful of strong saves at the opposite end of the ice, smothering wrap-around attempt by Glen Metropolit before robbing Sobotka with a glove save. From the top of the crease Jeremy Reich fed the puck back to Sobotka in the slot. The
Although Glen Murray converted a Bruins power play late in the period, Mathieu Darche scored his second goal in consecutive nights to re-claim the Lightning’s two-goal lead. Creating a screen in front of the net, Darche deflected a Filip Kuba slap shot to beat Thomas to the glove side. The Lightning winger posted his third goal of the season with 58.6 seconds remaining in the period.
“Obviously it’s a big shift after a goal against,” Darche said of his goal. “We got right back in, maybe we killed their momentum a bit there.”
A shot by Sobotka deflected off the left post late in the contest, but Holmqvist recorded 28 saves for his 11th win of the season. The Bruins out-shot the Lightning, 29-28, in the contest as both clubs converted one power play opportunity.
“You’ve got to give a lot of credit to [Holmqvist],” defenseman Shane O’Brien said. “I thought we did a good job of limiting their time and space and keeping them to the outside.”
Leading all skaters with seven shots in the contest, Lecavalier extended his lead as the league’s leading point scorer with three points on the night. The Lightning center leads the league with 41 points (18 goals, 23 assists) through 26 games. Lecavalier led all NHL skaters with 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) through the month of November.
The contest marked Vaclav Prospal’s 350th game in a
The Lightning continue their four-game home stand on Tuesday, December 4 (7:30p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE) as they host the Ottawa Senators at the St. Pete Times Forum. The game marks the first of two meetings between the clubs at
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