“Celebrate good times, come on!”
That’s one of the many songs likely running through the heads of Tampa Bay Lightning fans following Sunday night’s 5-3 win over the “big, bad” Boston Bruins.
Put it this way, the Bruins had extended dominance over the Lightning. It had gotten to the point where some Lightning fans had forgotten what a victory over Boston felt like.
In a rivalry sparked during the 2011 Eastern Conference final, Lightning fans and the team finally got to avenge years of frustration. The turning point: Steven Stamkos’ knockout of perpetual Bruins pest Brad Marchand.
One punch was all it took for the 25-year-old captain to send a message and jump-start his teammates, who responded with two goals in 15 seconds to turn a 1-1 deadlock into a 3-1 Lightning lead.
From there, the Lightning could smell blood. Jason Garrison then let loose a bomb to make the score 4-1 midway through the second and it was all but over.
Not going down easily, the Bruins closed the gap with a Zdeno Chara power play goal. Ondrej Palat answered back on the Lightning’s only man advantage opportunity before Daniel Paille scored a “Well, that’s a positive sign going forward” type goal with less than a minute remaining in regulation.
Marchand, meanwhile, found himself silenced after his throwdown with Stamkos.
With the victory, Stamkos and the Bolts move within two points of the Atlantic Division leading Montreal Canadiens. Possibly more satisfying for Lightning fans, the Bruins find themselves in a perilous position, as both the Ottawa Senators and Florida Panthers could potentially overtake them for the East’s final postseason berth.
These two teams meet again in the regular season finale, April 11 at Tampa’s Amalie Arena. Until then, it’s safe to say the Lightning won this matchup on the scoreboard….and on the ice!