BOSTON (AP) — Chris Kelly scored on a penalty shot, and Patrice Bergeron also had a short-handed goal on Thursday night as the Boston Bruins opened the defense of their Eastern Conference championship with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
On the night before the Red Sox open their AL playoff series against the Rays, Boston got an early jump on Tampa Bay. Kelly was hooked from behind about eight minutes in while Boston was killing off a penalty, and he converted the one-on-one with goalie Anders Lindback.
Boston also killed a 5-on-3 power play in the first period and another in the third, getting help from a phantom interference call that left them just one man down. Bergeron wove his way through the middle of the ice and took a shot that hit Lindback and rolled into the net to make it 3-1.
Tuukka Rask made 32 saves for Boston, which reached the Stanley Cup finals last season for the second time in three years. The Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games, allowing the go-ahead and game-winning goals in a span of 17 seconds in the third period of the clincher.
Lindback stopped 22 shots for the Lightning.
Milan Lucic also scored for Boston. David Krejci, who was a game-time decision with back spasms, had the team’s only assist.
The Bruins were outshot 15-6 in the first period, oddly getting most of their scoring chances while they were two men down midway through the frame. Kelly was the third to make a charge, but the stick in his gut prevented him from getting off a good shot.
On the ensuing penalty shot — the first of his career — Kelly faked left and went to his right before sliding a backhander into the net.
Tampa Bay tied it midway through the second when Eric Brewer beat Daniel Paille at the blue line and then another Bruin below the right circle before crossing it over to Valtteri Filppula for the goal. Krejci did most of the work along the boards before passing it to the middle for Lucic, who gave Boston a 2-1 lead with 1 minute left in the second.
NOTES: Boston announced during the game that defenseman Dennis Seidenberg signed a four-year contract extension. … The Bruins went 6-1 in the exhibition season. … Bruins F Carl Soderberg missed the game with an ankle injury. … Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos, who were Nos. 1 and 2 in scoring in the NHL last season, didn’t register a point. … Including the 2011 East finals, Boston has won eight straight over Tampa Bay at home. … The Bruins wished the Red Sox good luck on the scoreboard, drawing a big cheer.