Bruins - Lightning Preview
It’s the third of four total meetings on the year. The Bolts and Bruins have split the first two matchups of the season series, earning a victory each in their team’s home arena. Boston and Tampa Bay will wrap up the four-game set on Mar. 27 at TD Garden.
The Big Story:
After coming to within just two points of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as little as a week ago, the Lightning have dropped three straight games and have fallen to seven points back of division-rival Washington. As Tampa Bay looks to stay alive in the playoff picture, it’s hoping Tuesday’s game could be the turning point, as a vulnerable Bruins team comes into the Tampa Bay Times Forum riddled by injuries and seeking to avoid a three-game losing streak.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay plays in the second match of its seven-game home stand, still seeking its first win during the extended stay at the Times Forum. The Bolts dropped the stretch’s opener on Saturday, falling 4-2 to the division-rival Hurricanes despite another strong performance by rookie goaltender Dustin Tokarski
. The 22-year-old Lightning net minder made 22 saves against Carolina, but couldn’t keep the Hurricanes off the board in the final period, as a pair of third-period goals proved to be the difference that lifted Carolina to within two points of the Lightning in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Ryan Malone
extended a season-high point streak to six games with a goal in the loss, and Nate Thompson
also scored, however both Steven Stamkos
and Teddy Purcell
were left off the score sheet and saw their point streaks of six and 11 games, respectively, come to an end.
BRUINS – The defending Stanley Cup champs play in the middle match of a three-game road trip, which wraps up Thursday in Sunrise against the Panthers. Despite maintaining their two-point lead in the Northeast Division standings over Ottawa, the Bruins might currently be at the top, but are anything but comfortable. Boston lost 5-2 at Pittsburgh on Sunday to endure the team’s second straight loss, in which the Bruins played with just 15 skaters for nearly the entire second and third periods due to the injuries to Adam McQuaid, Max Sauve and Patrice Bergeron. A pair of goals by David Krejci in the middle frame quickly erased a 3-0 first-period deficit, but an additional two goals by the Penguins through the final 40 minutes held up to give Pittsburgh its ninth consecutive victory.
Lightning forward Ryan Malone
is enjoying a season-high six-game point streak with three goals and six points over that span, while Teddy Purcell
has points in 11 of his past 12 games, recording seven goals and 22 points during that stretch. Steven Stamkos
also has five goals in his past seven games. For the Bruins, Milan Lucic has two goals and seven assists amidst a seven-game point streak.
LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund
(knee, out for season, placed on Injured Reserve), Dana Tyrell
(knee, out for season, placed on Injured Reserve), Marc-Andre Bergeron
(upper body, out for season), Vincent Lecavalier
(non-displaced hand fracture, out indefinitely), Mathieu Garon
(torn groin muscle, out 3-4 weeks) and Bruno Gervais
(upper body, day-to-day).
BRUINS – Adam McQuaid (upper body), Max Suave (lower body), Patrice Bergeron (lower body), Rich Peverley (sprained MCL), Benoit Pouliot (lower body), Tuukka Rask (lower body), Daniel Paille (arm) and Nathan Horton (concussion).
“We got to keep the same work ethic. We don't have to change a lot. Our lives are on the line, our backs are against the wall and we have to come out fighting right from the start.” –Brett Clark
, on the status of his team entering Tuesday’s matchup against the Bruins
The Lightning's Nate Thompson
was drafted by the Bruins in the sixth round (183rd overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. Thompson made his NHL debut with the Bruins on October 21, 2006 and played four career games with Boston, while he skated in 216 regular-season and 37 playoff games with the team's AHL affiliate, the Providence Bruins, from 2005-2008. Martin St. Louis
and Tim Thomas were teammates at the University of Vermont from 1993-97. Lightning founder Phil Esposito won two Stanley Cups (1970 & 1972) with Boston and set the former NHL record by scoring 76 regular-season goals with the Bruins in 1970-71. Esposito's record was broken by Wayne Gretzky's 92-goal campaign in 1981-82.