TAMPA, Fla. (AP)Charlie Coyle scored 3:37 into overtime to give the Boston Bruins a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday night.
Coyle picked up a loose puck to the right of Tampa Bay goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, came out in front and scored on a quick wrist shot.
”Jake (DeBrusk) made a nice play to pop the puck loose,” Coyle said after scoring his 16th goal of the season. ”It bounced right to me. Good on Jake to get it,”
DeBrusk scored the other goal for Boston, which got 28 saves from Linus Ullmark. The Bruins improved to 8-3-0 in their last 11 games.
”This was a goaltending battle,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. ”Tonight we were one goal better.”
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare had the only goal for Tampa Bay, which is 0-2-2 in its past four games and fell one point behind Boston in the race for third place in the Atlantic Division. Vasilevskiy finished with 36 saves.
Playing behind a contending team is something new for Ullmark, who signed a five-year contract with the Bruins last summer after spending pieces of six seasons playing for the Buffalo Sabres, who have not made the playoffs since 2011.
”It’s just fun to play these sorts of games,” he said. ”We still have 11 (regular-season) games to go, and we have to focus on them and not get ahead of ourselves.”
Tampa Bay is 0-2-2 in its past four games, but coach Jon Cooper wasn’t unhappy with much of anything – except the outcome.
”The process was really good tonight,” he said. ”Unfortunately we fell behind again, we didn’t like that. But I didn’t mind the way we were playing, and we answered right away. You need a push in the third period, and I thought we gave it.
”The puck didn’t go in for us and sometimes that happened. But if you are going to go through regulation and just give up one goal, you give yourself a chance to get points.”
The only two goals in regulation came early in the second period, when DeBrusk and Bellemare scored less than three minutes apart.
DeBrusk gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead when he scored his 22nd of the season 47 seconds into the middle period. Brad Marchand slipped a pass to a wide-open DeBrusk in front of the net, and he slid a backhander through Vasilevskiy’s five-hole for his seventh goal in seven games.
Bellemare tied it at 3:28. After some excellent forechecking kept the Bruins pinned in their own zone for nearly a minute, Corey Perry controlled the puck behind the net to the right of Ullmark and found Bellemare in the slot for a one-timer that caught the top right corner.
Tampa Bay’s Brayden Point had the best scoring opportunity in the early stages of the third period, but Ullmark stopped his breakaway bid with just over 12 minutes remaining. Ullmark also robbed Ondrej Palat from close in three minutes later.
”He had to chase the puck,” Ullmark said of Point’s scoring chance. ”I tried to stay on my feet as long as I could.
Vasilevskiy preserved the tie when he denied DeBrusk and Matt Grzelcyk during a late power play for Boston.
Despite having to settle for one point, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said Tampa Bay played considerably better than it did in losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals earlier this week.
”A couple of clear chances that we just couldn’t find a way to bear down on and a couple of posts,” he said. ”A lot of good things in that game. We got some extended zone shifts and a lot of good looks. Two great goaltenders going at it, so (this was) a step in the right direction, for sure.”
NO PASTA AGAIN
Bruins forward David Pastrnak missed his second straight game with an undisclosed injury. The Lightning didn’t miss seeing Pastrnak. He scored five goals in Boston’s first three games against Tampa Bay.
DOMINATING THE CHAMPS
The Bruins finished the season series against the two-time defending Stanley Cup champs with 3-0-1 record. Boston is 68-30-9-3 against the Lightning since Tampa Bay entered the NHL in 1992.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had his eight-game point streak ended. Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov saw his three-game goal-scoring streak snapped.
Bruins: Travel to Washington for a Sunday afternoon game against the Capitals.
Lightning: Host the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
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