Bruins center Noel Acciari took a puck to the face. Two days later, he had his best NHL game.

"I always anticipated on playing. I mean, I'm okay with pain, so."

Noel Acciari Boston Bruins Lightning
Bruins center Noel Acciari, wearing the "fish bowl", scores against the Tampa Bay Lightning. –The Associated Press

Bruins center Noel Acciari was considered questionable for Thursday’s game against the Lightning. He required “extensive dental work” after taking a puck to the face during Tuesday’s game against the Sharks.

At game time, though, Acciari emerged wearing a full face protector attached to his helmet, ready to go.

“I always anticipated on playing,” Acciari told reporters postgame. “I mean, I’m okay with pain, so.”

In the third period, he forced a turnover just inside the Lightning’s blue line and crashed the net in time to collect the rebound after Chris Wagner’s shot. Acciari put the puck by Tampa Bay goaltender Louis Domingue for his third goal of the season.

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Just under a minute later, Acciari recorded a secondary assist on Patrice Bergeron’s goal to extend the Bruins’ lead to three. Add in three more shots on net and 14 total minutes of ice time, and Acciari earned first star of the game honors. His goal ended up being the game-winner after the Bruins allowed one goal in the third period. Thursday’s game was Acciari’s first-ever multi-point NHL game.

“I just picked the puck up off the wall and gave it to Wags [Chris Wagner] and Wags had a great shot, low pad, and it just happened to bounce out right in front of me, and I was able to tap it in,” Acciari said of his goal.

Acciari said he lost two teeth after Tuesday night’s incident, causing him to wear the full face protector, sometimes referred to as a “fishbowl” or a “bubble.” Acciari’s linemate Sean Kuraly donned the bubble earlier this season after he was injured in a fight on Dec. 9. Over half of Kuraly’s 17 points this season came in the month after his injury, including a game-winning goal against the Blackhawks in the 2019 Winter Classic on Jan. 1.

The Bruins have taken note of the apparent success that comes along with wearing the face protector. Tuukka Rask referred to it as the “lucky bubble” to The Boston Globe‘s Kevin Paul Dupont, and Brad Marchand also joked about its mystique.

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“Those guys put the bubble on and they’re lighting it up,” Marchand told reporters postgame. “I think I might want a bubble now.”

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