NHL-best Bruins clinch Atlantic Division title with win over Lightning –

BOSTON (AP) — Garnet Hathaway scored the decisive goal late in the second half and the NHL-best Boston Bruins secured first place in the Atlantic Division with their sixth straight win, 2-1 over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

The win was the Bruins’ 56th and moves them one shy of the club’s record from 1970–71. It also keeps them on track to set the NHL record for wins in a regular season with 10 games remaining. The Detroit Red Wings won 62 in 1995-96 and Tampa Bay achieved the same win in 2018-19 in their final game of the regular season (at TD Garden in Boston).

Patrice Bergeron added a power play goal for the Bruins and Linus Ullmark made 26 saves to increase his record to 36-5-1.

Victor Hedman had a shorthanded score for the Lightning and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 32 shots. Tampa Bay has lost four straight games.

Hathaway, positioned in front of the net, rebounded Matt Grzelcyk’s shot from the left point out of the air and into the net before Vasilevskiy was able to control it at 2:28 in the third.

Ullmark stopped Anthony Cirelli’s backhand with a partial breakaway about seven minutes from time.

With Lightning winger Pat Maroon in the box with an unsportsmanlike conduct for something he did on the bench, Bergeron was credited with his 27th goal when Brad Marchand’s pass hit his skate before he was 6:46 into Hedman’s opening period skate crashed into the net.

Hedman defeated Ullmark with a slap shot from the top of the left circle for his goal just under three minutes later.

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Maroon and Hathaway had to be separated before the opening puck dropped. It didn’t matter, they dropped their gloves after just nine seconds into the game. The scrum began as Tampa Bay center Ross Colton, who received a double minor for roughing, pursued Boston center Jakub Lauko.

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The Bruins killed a two-man power play advantage midway through the second game and held the Lightning on a shot on target. Then just one more shot before the second penalty expires.

Tampa Bay was shorthanded five times in the opening period and kept the Bruins on goal.

REMARKS: Bruins forward AJ Greer has been handed a one-game ban for punching Montreal’s Mike Hoffman in the face in Thursday’s 4-2 win over the Canadiens. … The Bruins came up with the league’s best penalty-killing unit. … Boston forward David Pastrnak’s next goal will be the 290th of his career, putting him ahead of Ken Hodge in eighth place on the team’s all-time list.


Lightning: At Carolina’s on Tuesday.

Bruins: Sunday in Carolina.

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