Lightning (11-7-2, 24 Points) vs. Bruins (11-5-2, 24 Points)
Last 10: Tampa Bay (4-5-1); Boston (5-3-2)
The Big Story: Tampa Bay comes home after winning three straight and with a win tonight, could ride a four-game winning streak for the first time since it had four straight victories from Feb. 2 to Feb. 9 of last season. Boston has been scorching hot on the road this season, coming in with the NHL’s best record away from home at 7-1-0. Two of the league’s top goal scorers in Steven Stamkos and Milan Lucic also face off tonight, as do two of the NHL’s top three penalty killing units.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay will play the first of four games in a six-day span beginning tonight, with three of them coming at home. Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis were held off the score sheet in a rare occurrence during the team’s last game, but secondary scoring in the form of goals by Teddy Purcell and Adam Hall was all the team needed to complete a three-game road sweep with a 2-1 win in Buffalo. Mike Smith also won for the second straight game, stopping 29 of 30 shots.
BRUINS – Boston plays its first game on the road tonight and will play four of the next five away from home as well. The Bruins have thrived on the road this season, winning seven of eight games and scoring 32 goals away from home, good for the league’s fifth-highest total. Boston has gained points in four straight, including three wins, with the only exception coming in the club’s last game against Los Angeles. Boston fought back after being down by two goals after the first period, getting on the board with a pair of scores from Blake Wheeler and Greg Campbell. Patrice Bergeron added another in the third period to send the game into a shootout, but Michal Handzus’ lone goal in the tiebreaker was enough for the Kings to prevail.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos has 15 points in his last eight and Martin St. Louis comes in with 13 points in his last eight as well. Teddy Purcell also comes in with three points in his last two and Adam Hall has points in two straight contests. Boston’s Patrice Bergeron has a goal and two assists in his last two games, while Shawn Thornton has two points in as many contests.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Simon Gagne (neck, placed on Injured Reserve) and Vincent Lecavalier (hand, placed on Injured Reserve). BRUINS – David Krejci (concussion), Marc Savard (post-concussion symptoms), Marco Sturm (knee surgery) and Trent Whitfield (Achilles tendon).
Quotable: “I was so happy when that horn went. We battled all game to get the big win and end a great road trip off like this. This was fantastic, the guys played great in front of me and this was a huge confidence builder for our team.” – Mike Smith, following a three-game sweep in Buffalo Saturday night
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