TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Brad Marchand and the NHL-leading Boston Bruins took a big stride toward winning the Atlantic Division with a 2-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday night.
Marchand and Jake DeBrusk scored for the Bruins, who opened a nine-point cushion over second-place Tampa Bay in the division standings with 15 games remaining in the regular season.
Tukka Rask made 20 saves for Boston, which has won three straight and eight of 10.
Mitchell Stephens scored for Tampa Bay, which has lost five of the past six in regulation. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 33 shots.
The Bruins took advantage of an icing call to grab the lead late in the first period as Boston coach Bruce Cassidy was able to get his top line out against Tampa Bay’s fourth line. Patrice Bergeron won the faceoff from Cedric Paquette and 18 seconds later Torey Krug found Marchand cutting through the left circle with a step on Mikhail Sergachev. Marchand tapped the puck past Vasilevskiy with 54.7 seconds left in the period.
Tampa Bay thought it tied the game at 5:21 of the second on Yanni Gourde’s one-timer, but Cassidy challenged the play for offside. The replay showed Tyler Johnson was a fraction ahead of the play, and the goal was overturned.
The Bruins took a two-goal lead 4:34 later as Gourde sent a pass back to the point that was deflected out of the zone. DeBrusk shook off Zach Bogosian’s swipe check that tripped him up before regaining his balance and finishing off the play for his 19th goal of the season.
The Lightning cut into the lead with 2:32 left in the second. Stephens was parked on top of the crease to clear a path for Johnson before wheeling around and firing a rebound past Rask for his third of the season.
Rask kept Boston in front, denying Anthony Cirelli on a breakaway at 5:06 of the third.
NOTES: Marchand was sick early in the day and missed the morning skate. He has points in 10 consecutive games. … DeBrusk appeared in his 200th career game. … Injured defensemen Ryan McDonagh (lower body) and Jan Rutta (lower body) took part in Tuesday’s optional morning skate for the Lightning. Both have been out since the first week of February. … Tampa Bay RW Nikita Kucherov was held without a point for the first time since Jan. 12, though he missed a game due to injury on Feb. 13.
Bruins: At the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
Lightning: Host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday.
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