Nathan Horton scored the goal tonight that gained an instant place in Bruins’ lore.
But it should be noted — as coach Claude Julien reminded the media — that virtually every member of the Bruins’ four lines tonight played at his best.
That particularly applies to center David Krejci, who not only set up Horton’s eighth goal of the postseason at 12:27 of the third period, but who also dominated in when the puck was dropped, winning 14 of 17 faceoffs.
“We got great play from all of our lines tonight,” said Patrice Bergeron, who was stellar himself, winning 15 of his 23 faceoffs and shadowing Tampa Bay sniper Steven Stamkos. Stamkos was limited to just one shot, excluding the one he took in the face from Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk that opened a huge gash on his nose.
“The credit belongs to every one of them,” said Julien, and it was no exaggeration. Rich Peverley was the best forward on the ice in the first period and remained relentless in pursuing scoring chances. Young Tyler Seguin was thisclose to a couple of breakaways in his 14:43 of playing time, Milan Lucic had two outstanding scoring chances, Brad Marchand was his usual pesky self . . .
“I mean it, it really was every one of them,” Julien said. “Everyone who was on the ice tonight and a part of this team should be proud, because they all did it. There were no mental errors, no lulls in our play, no bad stretches. No one ever forgot what was at stake, you could tell by the way everyone played.”
The Bruins’ determination was evident on the opposing bench. Lightning coach Guy Boucher, gracious even in his obvious disappointment, didn’t take much prodding to heap plenty of praise on the victors.
“They have four-line depth, guys who can put the puck in the net and defend, they’re non-stop and smart,” Boucher said. “They’ve obviously got it all.”
Then he offered words Bruins fans will be glad to hear.
“When they play Vancouver, I know they dominated the league this season,” Boucher said. “But I will tell you, I saw the Bruins for seven games. They’ll be on equal grounds.”