Playing their third game in the previous four nights, Mathieu Darche, Michel Ouellet and Vaclav Prospal scored for Tampa Bay.
As the Bruins skated on an early power play, goaltender Johan Holmqvist made one of his 23 saves in the contest. Boston’s leading goal scorer Marco Sturm carried the puck down the right wing, cutting to the net for a shot on goal. Holmqvist made a blocker save to keep the Bruins off the scoreboard.
Converting short-handed, Darche scored his fifth goal of the season to give the Lightning the lead at 4:43 of the first.
After breaking up a play in the Bruins zone, Darche passed the puck ahead to Vincent Lecavalier. As the Lightning center skated down the right side, he fed the puck across to Darche at the front of the net. Darche re-directed the pass to beat netminder Alex Auld to the stick side.
Picking up an assist on the play, Lecavalier recorded his ninth helper in his previous nine games. Lecavalier has recorded at least one assist in seven of those nine games.
With less than six minutes remaining in the period, Milan Lucic connected with the man advantage to tie the game at one. Phil Kessel skated down the right wing before passing the puck to Lucic at the left faceoff circle. The Bruins rookie slapped a shot, beating Holmqvist high to the glove side for his seventh goal of the season.
Despite the score, the Lightning skated out the period on the power play when Murray was given a two-minute minor for hooking. Late in the frame Brad Richards put a shot on goal, but Auld covered the attempt as Dan Boyle looked to tip the puck in front.
With the power play continuing into the second period, Martin St. Louis and Richards looked to convert a give-and-go play. From the left faceoff circle St. Louis fed the puck down to Richards who returned the pass. St. Louis fired a shot from the left hash marks, but Auld made a glove save on the play.
Responding for the Bruins, Marc Stuart scored at 5:08 of the frame to give his club a one-goal lead. Firing a slap shot through traffic, Stuart posted his third goal of the season when he put the puck to the short side.
As Tampa Bay worked to tie the game, Jan Hlavac helped set up a play in front of the Boston net. Holding on to the puck at the left of Auld, Hlavac made a pass back to Boyle after Stuart dropped down in the shooting lane. Boyle’s shot from the slot deflected in traffic before Auld made a pad save on a rebound attempt by Ouellet.
Auld followed up the play by denying a breakaway attempt by St. Louis. With a pair of Bruins defensemen trailing the play, St. Louis broke into the zone for a shot in front but Auld made a pad save.
Tampa Bay followed up the play by getting on the board to tie the game at two. As Richards carried the puck into the offensive zone, he put a quick shot on net. Crashing towards the crease, Ouellet got a piece of the puck to slide it under Auld for the score. The goal was Ouellet’s eighth of the season.
Moments later St. Louis stripped Aaron Ward of the puck at the blue line, turning around for another breakaway attempt. As he fired a quick wrist shot from the bottom of the slot, Auld reached across to make a glove save.
Holmqvist went on to cover up the puck on an attempt by Kessel before making a number of saves on a Bruins 5-on-3 man-advantage opportunity.
Making one of his biggest saves of the season, Holmqvist denied Sturm as he tried to connect on a back door attempt. With Sturm positioned to the left of Holmqvist, Murray fed a pass from the left hash marks. Sturm fired a shot at the open side of the net, but Holmqvist dove across his crease to make a glove save at the goal line.
Holmqvist followed up at the play with a save against Bruins’ leading scorer, Marc Savard. Gloving the puck, Holmqvist denied Savard’s slap shot from the left faceoff circle. However, as Boston continued to skate with the two-man advantage, Murray scored his first goal of the night.
From the goalmouth, Murray connected on a backhanded shot, popping the rebound from a Zdeno Chara shot to the right of Holmqvist.
The Bruins followed up the goal by building a two-goal lead 17 seconds into the final period. After Savard fed a pass to Murray at the bottom of the slot, the puck deflected off a Lightning defender into the right side of the net.
Late in the period Prospal notched his 29th goal of the season to bring Tampa Bay within one. Skating the puck through the zone, Prospal fired a wrist shot that trickled through the five-hole against Auld.
Prospal has scored 10 goals in his previous 12 games, recording a season-high four-game scoring streak during the stretch.
A little more than a minute after Prospal’s goal, P.J. Axelsson posted his 11th goal of the season to close out the scoring. After Boyle tried to stifle a breakaway by Glen Metropolit, the Bruins center left the puck for Axelsson who snapped a shot for the score.
Both clubs posted 28 shots in the contest, with Auld making 25 saves for his 11th win of the season. The teams skated on 13 power plays, combined, posting three power play goals and two shorthanded goals during the game.
Tampa Bay continues their three-game homestand on Wednesday, February 27 (7:30p.m., Sun Sports, 620 WDAE) as they host the Minnesota Wild. The game marks the lone match-up of the season between the clubs.
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