Boston Bruins

The Bruins and Lightning were off to a normal start through 20 minutes in their Game 1 meeting at Amalie Arena.

Rick Nash got the Bruins on the board with a beautiful power-play tip through Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy, and Jon Cooper and Bruce Cassidy tried to line match and impose their will with statement shifts from their squads as the Atlantic Division rivals traded chances and early post-whistle shoves.

Patrice Bergeron put the Bruins on the board less than a minute into the second period, and Dan Girardi’s first playoff goal in four years scored shortly after the Bergeron goal kept the Lightning within striking distance.

…And then things got just plain weird.

Back out to a two-goal edge after a Rick Nash snipe, a Lightning power-play opportunity swept the B’s off their skates.  Or took the blades off their skates, I should say. Losing his blade on a shorthanded save, and with it just hanging out in the Boston crease, Rask did his best to notify the referees that he was on one leg.

As Rask continued to holler at an official, the Lightning continued their offensive-zone cycle, and it didn’t take long for Mikhail Sergachev to make Rask pay for his distracted hobbling by way of a power-play marker.

Rask, infuriated by the lack of a whistle for his struggles, proceeded to lose his mind, grabbing the discarded blade and throwing it as the Bolts celebrated. Unfortunately for the Rask, though, the referees were just doing their job as stated in the NHL rulebook.

But Rask, who finished the period with some more stellar saves, refused to let it derail his game.

Surviving assorted Tampa Bay flurries in their defensive zone, the Bruins then extended their lead back to two early in the third period when a Brad Marchand redirect through the legs beat Vasilevskiy for Boston’s fourth goal of the afternoon. The goal, which absolutely took the home crowd out of it, also came on the first B’s shot in nine minutes.

Bergeron scored Boston’s fifth goal, scored at the 10:11 mark of the third, and with some more first line domination.

And as Cooper elected to pull his goaltender down by three with seven minutes left in the third period, it was Jake DeBrusk that put the finishing touches on this one with an empty-netter scored with 6:19 remaining.

Game 2 will be Monday night in Tampa Bay.