Lightning (18-24-4, 40 Points) at Bruins (27-13-5, 59 Points)
Fox Sports Florida; AM 970 WFLA
This is the third and final meeting between the two clubs. To date, the Bruins have taken both meetings, winning once at the Tampa Bay Times Forum back on February 21 and collecting an additional victory at the TD Garden on March 2. Tonight’s game was initially scheduled for earlier in the season, but had to be made up due to the snowstorm in Boston at the time.
Tampa Bay plays in the second half of a back-to-back set after earning a 5-2 win against Toronto last night that helped snap a six-game losing streak. In the win, Martin St. Louis notched his seventh career hat trick, moving him into sole possession of first place in the NHL points lead with 58 on the year. Boston, meanwhile, has been struggling as of late, as it enters tonight’s game with just one win in its last six games yet remains in the second position in the Eastern Conference playoff standings.
LIGHTNING – The Bolts travel to Boston for the penultimate game of the season, and their final road game, as they will return home following tonight’s contest to skate in the regular season finale on Saturday night against the in-state rival Panthers. Last night, the Bolts saw their six-game winless streak come to an end, earning a 5-2 victory over the playoff-bound Maple Leafs, powered by Martin St. Louis’ seventh career hat trick. Steven Stamkos’ 29th goal of the year in the victory also brought him to within two of league leader Alex Ovechkin, as the pair of Lightning teammates continued to chase two of the league’s scoring titles.
BRUINS – Boston will play host to the Lightning in its second-to-last home game of the regular campaign, with a game against Washington on Saturday night in the nation’s capital preceding the regular season finale at TD Garden the very next night versus Ottawa. The Bruins, albeit with a secure spot reserved in the postseason, have not been at their best lately, losing five of six. The recent winless trend continued in the team’s most recent game on Tuesday in a 5-2 loss to the Flyers. Wade Redden scored in the first period to send a tie game into the intermission, but a pair of Flyers goals in the second while the Bruins were held scoreless in the frame proved to be the difference. David Krejci added a goal for Boston in the final period, but an additional pair put up by Philadelphia was too much for the Bruins to come back from.
Lightning forward Martin St. Louis has five goals in the past four games, while Matt Carle has recorded a point in eight of his past 13 games, notching a goal and nine assists during that stretch. For the Bruins, Jaromir Jagr has points in two straight and Brad Marchand has registered four goals and an assist in his last six contests, while Tyler Seguin has collected five points in his past seven.
LIGHTNING – None. BRUINS – Nathan Horton (Upper Body).
Lightning forward Benoit Pouliot recorded a career-high 32 points as a member of the Bruins last season, playing in 74 games with Boston. Nate Thompson was also drafted by Boston in the sixth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft and skated in four games with the team during the 2006-07 season. Lightning forward Alex Killorn and Bruins forward Brad Marchand hail from the same hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Bruins allow the third-least amount of goals per game in the NHL (2.20), while the Lightning score the second-most per game (3.13).
Teddy Purcell has recorded four assists in two games against Boston this season, tallying a pair of helpers in each meeting.
Both teams each scored two power play goals in the most recent matchup in Boston on March 2. Martin St. Louis currently ranks first in the NHL in assists with 42 and is also the league leader in points with 58. Radko Gudas has recorded 41 hits over his past nine games.
“It's just a pleasure to have him on your team. I’m just his coach, but when you step outside the coaching realm, how can you not be a fan of what he does. We needed a boost tonight and he gave it to us." – Lightning head coach Jon Cooper, commenting on Martin St. Louis
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