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Fists come out as Bruins fight their way into first place

With their 4-2 loss to the Bruins, the Lightning fell from atop the Eastern Conference standings for the first time since Oct. 18
Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports
Boston Bruins right wing David Pastrnak fights with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Dan Girardi during the third period of Boston's 4-2 win at TD Garden in Boston on Mar. 29, 2018

BOSTON (AP) - Patrice Bergeron had a goal and two assists and the Boston Bruins took over first place in the Eastern Conference with a 4-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

Tim Schaller and David Pastrnak scored goals 32 seconds apart in the final minute of the first period and Brad Marchand added an empty-net goal with 56 seconds left.

Torey Krug had two assists, Pastrnak finished with a goal and an assist and Tuukka Rask stopped 26 shots for the Bruins, who have 107 points and lead Tampa Bay by a point.

Boston has six games remaining in the regular season to five for Tampa Bay.

For the first time since Oct. 18, a team other than the Lightning leads the Eastern Conference.

Postseason implications were apparent throughout, including a rare fight for Pastrnak in the third period and Rask unloading a flurry of punches on Tampa Bay's Cory Conacher during a scrum in the second.

The game ended with the officials separating everybody one last time before the Bruins skated down and congratulated Rask.

J.T. Miller scored a power-play goal for Tampa Bay in the second and Victor Hedman added a goal in the third. Andrei Vasilevskiy finished with 26 saves for the Lightning, who have lost three straight and are 0-3 against the Bruins this season.

Tampa Bay had an apparent goal waved off in the third a few minutes before Krug passed to Bergeron at the side of the net for a goal to put Boston up 3-1 at 11:59 of the third.

The Lightning cut it to 3-2 when Hedman beat Rask through his legs with 6:06 remaining in the third.

Marchand added an empty-net goal with assists going to Bergeron and Pastrnak.

The Bruins outshot the Lightning 17-6 in the first period and took a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals in the final minute.

Schaller put Boston up 1-0 after stealing the puck from Ryan McDonagh just inside the blue line and started a 2-on-1 break with Tommy Wingels, who got off a shot as Schaller crashed the net and poked in the rebound.

McDonagh caught Schaller from behind and both went crashing into the crossbar, taking out the net but not before the puck had crossed the line.

Tampa Bay's Alex Killorn took an interference penalty with 31 seconds remaining and Pastrnak scored 5 seconds into the penalty, putting the Bruins up 2-0 with 26 seconds left in the period.

The game paused for a few minutes with 8:44 left in the second after Rask took a few shots at Conacher when he was slow to get up after getting tangled with Brandon Carlo in the crease.

Rask landed several punches with his glove before players from both teams jumped in and were eventually separated. Vasilevskiy skated toward the other end, but was cut off at the blue line by referee Francois St. Laurent, who kept the Tampa Bay goalie from entering the fray.

Boston fans roared their approval by shouting "Tuuuuuuuuk!" throughout the altercation.

NOTES: The Lightning and Bruins play one more time in the regular season, Tuesday night in Tampa Bay. ... Boston improved to 7-1-0 in its past eight against Tampa Bay. ... Boston D Zdeno Chara, who signed a one-year contract extension with the Bruins on Wednesday, missed his seventh straight game with an upper-body injury. ... Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper entered the game with 239 wins, tied with John Tortorella for most in franchise history. ... The Bruins haven't lost in regulation since Florida shut them out 3-0 on March 15.


Lightning: At New York Rangers on Friday night.

Bruins: Host Florida on Saturday afternoon.

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