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(Thursday, October 3rd)
Final Score: Boston 3, Tampa Bay 1
Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Kelly scored on a short-handed penalty shot and Patrice Bergeron added another man-down score, as the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins kicked off their 90th season with a 3-1 decision over the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden.
Milan Lucic also tallied and Tuukka Rask stopped 32 shots for the Bruins, who have joined the new version of the Atlantic Division this season after 20 years in the Northeast.
"Our team's in a good place right now mentally and we're ready for another challenge this year," said Bruins head coach Claude Julien of his team which is coming off a second conference title in the last three seasons.
Valtteri Filppula lit the lamp in his debut for the Lightning, who have been relocated to the Atlantic after 15 years in the Southeast Division. Anders Lindback made 22 saves in the setback.
Trailing by a goal, Tampa enjoyed 1:32 of 5-on-3 action early in the third period when Zdeno Chara and Shawn Thornton were sent off in a three-second span, but failed to convert.
At the tail end of a 4-on-3 edge, created when Ryan Malone was whistled for interference, Bergeron's wrister from in close bled through Lindback's pads and over the goal line for a 3-1 Bruins edge.
"Bergy was Bergy. He didn't look like he missed a beat," Julien said of the 2012 Selke Trophy winner, who endured multiple debilitating injuries in the Cup Finals and recovery from subsequent surgeries.
Rask made the two-goal bulge hold up by stopping all 10 Bolts offerings in the period.
"Five-on-five you couldn't say one team is better than the other," Bolts head coach Jon Cooper said. "Both teams had their chances and I didn't think we gave up too much. Aside from the power play I was really happy with the way we played. You can go months without giving up two shorthanded goals, here we are giving up two in a game.
With Boston shorthanded in the first period, Kelly broke free into the Tampa zone, and while his path to the net was impeded by Bolts defenseman Mark Barberio, he unloaded two shots on net. When play was finally halted, with 8:21 on the clock, a penalty shot was called.
The gritty winger faked out Lindback before sliding a the puck home for a 1-0 lead.
"I try that move on Tuukka all the time in practice and he never bites," Kelly said following the contest. It worked tonight."
According to Elias Sports Bureau and NHL Public Relations, it was the first time the Bruins scored their first goal of the season on a penalty shot.
Rask was active in his crease at the end of the period, helping his club kill off almost two minutes of two-man disadvantage play. He stopped 15 shots in all in the opening frame.
Filppula equalized for the Lightning, left alone on the left side to one-time a backhanded dish from Eric Brewer just after the midway point of regulation.
The Bruins went to the break up by one, though, after Lucic snapped home his first of the year from the left circle off a David Krejci feed with 60 seconds to go.
The Bruins announced just after the drop of the puck that defenseman Dennis Seidenberg was signed to a four-year contract extension worth $16 million ... Boston has won seven straight at home vs. Tampa Bay, upping its all-time home record against their new division rivals to 30-4-6 since 1993 ... Filppula bolted from Detroit and signed a five-year, $22.5 million deal with the Bolts on the first day of free agency in July.
10/03 23:31:34 ET