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Shootout shines this time for Bruins.

Byline: Rich Garven

BOSTON -- Shootouts have been anything but a shoo-in for the Bruins this season.

The Bruins were 2-7 in the game-ending format, their winning percentage of .222 tied for last in the league as Patrice Bergeron gathered the puck at center ice to start the process that would determine a winner in their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

Bergeron got things off on the right skate by scoring on goalie Ben Bishop and Brad Marchand finished it off with the only other goal in the three-round shootout as the Bruins tipped Tampa, 3-2, at TD Garden

"I'm not hypocritical; I'm not going to pretend I like it,'' coach Claude Julien said after his team ended a seven-game shootout skid. "I like the win, but I gave my opinion before (that shootouts suck).''

The Bruins scored on two of their three shots. They were 6 for 46 (.130) coming in for the season.

"Tonight it happened to work out,'' Julien later added of the successful shootout, which extended the Bruins' winning streak to five games and their unbeaten run to six games.

That surge has pulled the Bruins, who own the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference to within two points of No. 7 Washington with a game in hand. The two meet Sunday night in Washington, one day after the Bruins face the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

"We keep pushing,'' Bergeron said. "I see a lot of character and guys wanting to do the little things and the little details we need to do in order to win. Everyone is chipping in and doing what they have to do in order for us to be successful.''

Leading the way against the Lightning, who came in averaging a league-leading 3.3 goals a game, was goalie Tuukka Rask. He finished with 35 saves and wasn't scored on in the shootout, although he got a break when Jonathan Drouin hit the crossbar.

Same goes for seeing Steven Stamkos, who scored Tampa's first goal and his 37th of the season in the first period, tossed out in overtime for tossing his broken stick -- at his own bench, no less.

"He's definitely a threat every time he's on the ice and obviously in the shootout as well,'' Bergeron said. "He's one of the best in the game, so we'll take it.''

The Bruins got goals from David Pastrnak in the first period and Bergeron in the third as they took leads of 1-0 and 2-1.

Pastrnak extended his point streak to three games (2-1-3) and fellow rookie Ryan Spooner made it seven straight games with a point (3-5-8) with an assist on the play. Spooner's streak is the longest by a Bruins rookie in nine years and the longest by a rookie in the NHL this season.

The second period was scoreless, which was fortunate for the Bruins. They were thoroughly outplayed, taking four shots and allowing 16.

"I thought we played really well in the first period and did exactly what we talked about doing,'' Julian said. "In the second period for some reason we started going back to the puck, our D's were, and our forwards were stretching out, so instead of being a five man unit we were spread into two units.

"But we were able to regain our game in the third period and made it an exciting third. And you know the rest that happened afterward.''

Bear Facts

Center David Krejci, who suffered a partially torn MCL in his left knee Feb. 20, skated on his own for the third straight day. The recovery period was initially pegged at four to six weeks, but Julien said he has no sense as to whether Krejci might return at the earlier or later side of the timetable. ... Gregory Campbell (puck), Daniel Paille (stick) and Dennis Seidenberg (boards) took shots to the face that led them to depart the ice. All three returned in short order, Campbell with stiches and a half-visor.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Garven, Rich
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 13, 2015
Words:668
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