BOSTON (AP) -- Manny Fernandez stopped 24 shots and the Eastern
Conference-leading Boston Bruins won their fourth straight game,
beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Blake Wheeler and Chuck Kobasew scored - becoming Boston's
seventh and eighth 20-goal scorers this season. Zdeno Chara
matched his career high with his 17th goal and added an assist.
Mike McKenna made 36 saves for the Lightning, who have lost
seven of eight.
Steven Stamkos whacked a rebound over Fernandez with 7:53 left -
his 20th goal - to spoil the Boston backup's shutout bid.
Vincent Lecavalier hit the post on a power play with four
minutes left, and that was Tampa Bay's best chance at a
The Bruins lead the Washington Capitals by nine points and the
New Jersey Devils by 10 in the race the best record in the East.
Boston could clinch home-ice advantage through the conference
finals as early as Thursday night if both Washington and New
Jersey lose on Wednesday.
Fernandez had lost five straight before eking out a 7-5 victory
over Toronto on Saturday. But this time he shut down the
14th-place Lightning for his second win since Jan. 8.
Wheeler backhanded a shot past McKenna with 5:57 left in the
first period to give Boston a 1-0 lead, then the Bruins got a
pair of power-play goals just as the penalized Lightning players
were settling into the box.
Patrice Bergeron fed a perfect cross-ice pass to Chara, who
one-timed it as he was coming in from the right circle to make
it 2-0 just 25 seconds into Evgeny Artyukhin's high-sticking
minor. Kobasew made it 3-0 later in the second when he
redirected Chara's shot from the point -- losing his stick in
the process -- 19 seconds into Richard Petiot's hooking penalty.