Not only was tonight a special night for Bruins captain Zdeno Chara who was honored for hitting his 1,000th NHL career game over the weekend, but for the entire team who feels like they have caught some wind heading into the final six games of the season, especially after their 5-2 win over the Lightning tonight.
"Well, it’s obviously very nice to get that recognition and ceremony," Chara said. "Like I said, I very much appreciate it. It’s very nice from the NHL, the Boston Bruins organization, from my teammates and everybody that supported me. But when that ceremony is over, you have to focus on the game and you just got to be ready because you have to play 60 minutes. There’s no other way to really describe it, just be ready and play hard the whole game."
Though Chara didn't score at all on his big night, he did come up with three assists on the first three goals for the Bruins and helped power them through a team that creamed them just two weeks ago.
The B's fell behind in the first period, at the hands of Boston-killer Steven Stamkos who netted his 54th and 55th goals of the year tonight for the only two goals from the Lightning.
The Bruins fell behind only once in the game though, and came back to tie and then take the lead in the second period. Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg found the right time to crash and pinch in the attacking zone, and picked up a Chara rebound to net his fourth goal of the season.
Stamkos tied the game in the third period, but the Bruins showed their resiliency in the final frame, and Benoit Pouliot showed his line's talent and wristed one past Dwayne Roloson to put the B's up 3-2.
After that, Brad Marchand added his own goal, shooting through traffic in front of the net and scoring his 26th goal of the year to add some assurance towards the end of the game.
Even Tim Thomas wanted to get in on the action a little bit.
With a minute to go in the game, Tampa Bay pulled Roloson and at one point, Thomas had the puck and attempted to rocket it from his own crease and into the empty net. Alas, it didn't even leave his own zone.
"I figured 'Why not?' I just wanted to get it off and give it a try," Thomas said. "I didn't really have time to load up on it, and unfortunately I couldn't get it over the blue line so it's going to be hard for me to ever get one."
Thomas faced just 18 shots on the night including just three in the second period. While Thomas described Stamkos' first goal as "the perfect shot," he said he didn't even see the second one until it had cleared by his defenseman Seidenberg.
Rich Peverley added the empty net goal to seal the 5-2 score into the scoring sheets, and they were able to add another solid effort win to their confidence levels.
"Well, I think we are on the right track like I’ve been saying, but there’s always room to improve and get better," Chara said. "We can’t be just sitting on three wins now and be happy about it. We can enjoy the win tonight, and get ready for tomorrow’s practice and the next opponent. It won’t be an easy game, which it never is. We have a tough opponent these last few games and we just got to be ready, we got to play up to our level and be the best every game."