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Horton lifts B's over Lightning
Boston Bruins right wing Nathan Horton (18) shoots past Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) during the first period at Tampa Times Forum. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)
Just like that playoff series two years ago, Boston came out on top as Nathan Horton scored twice to lead the Bruins to a 4-2 victory in front of an announced sellout crowd of 19,204 at The Forum on Thursday.
Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand added a goal and an assist apiece while Tuukka Rask made 24 saves to pick up the victory. Teddy Purcell had a pair of assists while Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay. Rookie Cory Conacher also scored for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay had its winning streak ended after two games while Boston (10-2-2) improved to 10-0 this season against teams not Buffalo or the New York Rangers.
The Bruins came out early with a pair of goals 3:50 into the game as Nathan Horton and Patrice Bergeron scored 2:39 apart for a 2-0 lead. Steven Stamkos cut the deficit in half for Tampa Bay at 8:13 of the first period, cutting down the slot to take a pass from Teddy Purcell and snapping off a wrist shot for his 11th goal of the season.
The Lightning started to build up some momentum from that point as the two sides settled into the game, trading chances back and forth in an entertaining game filled with plenty of speed, hits and scoring chances.
Rookie Cory Conacher snapped an eight-game goal-scoring skid to tie the game, firing off a wrist shot from the left circle for his sixth of the season at the 9:00 mark. But nearly five minutes later, Matt Carle blocked a Tyler Seguin shot, but the puck caromed right to Brad Marchand as the Bruins regained the lead at 13:58 of the second period.
Notes: Boston played the middle game of a season-long five-game road trip. ... Lightning D Keith Aulie missed the game due to illness. ... Tampa Bay has sold out all nine home games this season. ... Injured Tampa Bay LW Ryan Malone (lower body) has begun light skating on his own and is "getting close" to returning to skating with the team, according to head coach Guy Boucher. ... The first scheduled meeting between the teams in Boston was cancelled on Feb. 9 due to blizzard conditions and will be made up in Boston on April 25. ... Tampa Bay D Keith Aulie missed the game due to flu-like symptoms. ... Recently signed LW Jay Pandolfo was a healthy scratch for the Bruins. ... Bruins RW Nathan Horton has 25 career goals against the Lightning, nine more than against any other opponent. ... Tampa Bay C Steven Stamkos has goals in three consecutive games since enduring a five-game goal scoring drought.