The Boston Bruins are playing so well that they're starting to concentrate on what goes wrong in their victories.
Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel and Michael Ryder scored in the opening 10:46 and the Bruins coasted to their 14th win in 16 games, 5-3 over the struggling Tampa Bay Lightning last night in Boston.
The Bruins jumped out to a 3-0 lead, but the only thing most of the players wanted to talk about afterward was how they didn't play well after the opening period.
Zdeno Chara had a second-period, power-play goal and P.J. Axelsson added an empty-netter to help the Bruins win their fifth straight.
"We're not playing the way we usually play against teams," Chara said. "Just because we worked hard in the first period - we played a little too comfortable, I guess. Maybe we're a little too confident."
The Bruins, 10-1-1 at the TD Banknorth Garden this season, didn't waste much time taking control. With Tampa Bay defenseman Phil Ranger off for slashing, Lucic, positioned at the top of the crease, redirected Dennis Wideman's pass by goaltender Mike Smith at 6:44.
The Bruins made it 2-0 when Kessel's shot caromed off Ranger's stick and behind Smith at 9:29. Ryder scored on a wrist shot from the left circle just 1:17 later.
Tampa Bay called timeout to regroup after Boston's fast start, and the Bruins may have relaxed.
"Once we got a comfortable lead, we decided to get cute," Boston coach Claude Julien said.
Adam Hall, Vincent Lecavalier and Paul Szczechura scored for the Lightning, who lost their eighth straight.
"I don't know if we're a dumb team or we just don't get it, or we don't deserve to be in this league," Smith said. "I mean, we're making the same mistakes we talk about, game in and game out."
The schedule doesn't get any easier the next few weeks for Tampa Bay, which plays six of its next seven at home.
"To me it's an embarrassment when you have more than three or four individuals not ready to play," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said.
In other games:
* At Pittsburgh, Thomas Vanek's go-ahead goal, his NHL-best 20th of the season, completed a rally from two goals down and gave the Buffalo Sabres a 4-3 victory over the Penguins.
* At Toronto, Jason Blake scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period and set up two others as the Maple Leafs ended a three-game losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders.
* At Ottawa, Stephen Weiss scored with 9.1 seconds left in overtime to give the Florida Panthers a 4-3 win over the Senators. Weiss drove a shot from just over the blue line past Ottawa goalie Alex Auld as Florida improved to 5-1-2 in its last eight games.
* At St. Louis, B.J. Crombeen scored three goals, including the game-winner with 3:43 to play as the Blues defeated the Nashville Predators, 6-3. *