Bob DeChiara-US PRESSWIRE
With weather conditions as they are at the moment in Tampa... They don't call this place "Hockey Paradise" for nothing. Tampa Bay's imposing offense will be tested by the guile of Tuukka Rask and the well rested Bruins tonight.
WHERE: Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
WHEN: 7:30 PM EST | | TICKETS: Check Availability
MEDIA: Sun Sports, NHL Network (cable), 970 WFweatLA (radio)
OPPONENT COVERAGE: Stanley Cup of Chowder, Days of Y'Orr
As of this writing (1:05 PM), the current conditions at 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa, Florida 33602 are described as thus by Weather Underground: 79.7 degrees and clear, a 3 MPH wind from the east, with the barometric pressure at 30.02 inches and visibility reaching 10 miles.
I am no meteorologist, but I think I can make the deduction that conditions aren't so imposing that it should require the league to issue a postponement. Then again, there could be a wayward meteor or something between now and game time that changes things. We'll keep you posted if that should be the case... But I'm pretty certain the Lightning and Boston Bruins will get this one in. Maybe.
Snark aside, the Lightning are ending their stretch of four of their past five games at home (and the past five games entirely being played in-state) and will start on what could be a make-or-break road trip that will see the team play six of their next seven games in opponents buildings. That stretch should not be a make-or-break affair, yet with how the Lightning have handled the road this season (2-4-0, with a winless northeast trip just two weeks ago); it's not quite an exaggeration.
Before the Bolts head on the road, however, they have to handle the Bruins.
As I was saying on Tuesday in the preview for the Lightning's game against the Maple Leafs, the Northeast division is a monster, and the Bruins are happily a part of it. Tied (now a three way tie) for 2nd in the division with the Leafs and Ottawa Senators with 20 points, Boston is looking to play catch-up on the Montreal Canadiens who have opened up a three point lead for first in the division. Unlike Tuesday's affair with the Leafs, Boston is coming in rested (not having played sin Sunday in Winnipeg). That means a rested Tuukka Rask in net. That spells trouble.
One of the remarkable things about what Boston (9-2-2) has done so far in 13 games... They've done it with a smattering of offense. Only David Krejci has double-digits in total points at this moment (12) while other offensive threats like Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron (9 points each) and Tyler Seguin (8 points) are nearly but not-quite there yet.
In contrast, The Lightning have five players with double-digit point totals right now, and 102 points between them. Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis lead the way with 22 points each, followed by Vincent Lecavalier (16), Teddy Purcell (15), Cory Conacher (14) and former bruin Benoit Pouliot (13).
All the offense in the world matters not if the Bolts continue their haphazard ways with puck control. Despite winning 4-2 on Tuesday against a worn-down Maple Leafs team, the same issue seemed to poke it's head at various times during the game - speed, but no control. You're not likely going to get away with that against a well-rested opponent compared to a second-game-in-a-row team.
Anders Lindback will get another start in net for the Lightning; The Lightning lineup may remain the same from Tuesday, or perhaps will look like the one that won in overtime on Sunday. Defenseman Keith Aulie is the swing man in all this - Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune thinks that he may be ill and thus a game-time decision. Aulie sat Sunday in favor of Marc-Andre Bergeron, and played on Tuesday as part of a seven defenseman lineup.
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