Boston endures. Boston overcomes. Boston survives. Be it the Big Dig, blizzards, be it bombings, and be it the Bosox and the Curse of the Bambino that haunted New England baseball fans for 84 year. Another example is Boston Bruins ownership and the insufferable miser that is Jeremy Jacobs... Boston deals with it. Boston plods on.
And why? Because it's Boston and that's what they do, they overcome. It makes the high water marks of the region that much sweeter to experience, as they've trod through the despair and the dregs of the lowest lows. It's only after you've faced such trials that you can really enjoy the highs of achievement.
Of course, the adage of Boston Strong comes by way of recent events in the city. To co-opt them for sports in a bit of a disservice to the memory o the fallen... But the idea of survival during dark times in sports is something we all know. It's something Tampa Bay Lightning fans can especially appreciate at this moment. As the season wanes, the finality of the process of failure that has mangled and warped our morale depleted tolerance for what we've been exposed to from the Lightning.
But we endure. We'll overcome. We'll survive. This is nothing on the grand scheme of our allegiance; it's an aberration.
They may not know it, they may not accept it when confronted with this exact title, but everyone aspires to be Boston Strong.
All right, enough of my waxing poetic. This game is a makeup game from what was supposed to be Game 11 of the 2013 NHL season. To recap where the Lightning was at the time of the postponement - they had dropped their past three games to Atlantic division teams in the New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils. The Boston game was part of a back-to-back road affair between Boston and New York City and the Rangers again.
Steve Yzerman wasn't quite happy with the rescheduling date for this game, but there was hope at the time for the playoffs. Back-to-backs this late in the season seemed detrimental.
That's funny to think about in reflection. It's also something that may lead to sympathy when you look at the Bruins from a competitive perspective. The Bruins have had two cancellations in the past two weeks, which has set the stage for them to close out the 2013 season with six games in nine days. That included back-to-back games this past weekend (against the Penguins and the Panthers) and this forthcoming weekend (against the Capitals and the Senators).
But Boston endures, overcomes, etc.
The Lightning come in to Beantown with a solid win to their name and the NHL leaders in points with Martin St. Louis (58) and Steven Stamkos (56). Stamkos is also situated second in the league in goals scored behind Alex Ovechkin (29 as to 31). And as I noted in the preview of last night's game - two players and their benchmarks are rallying points for a Tampa Bay club that has only the off-season to look forward to.
Anders Lindback is confirmed as the starter in net for the Lightning tonight.
The lineup is expected to be the same tonight as last night that means Radko Gudas stays with the club, as does Richard Panik... All while Ryan Malone is scratched. Gudas and Panik were potentially going back to Syracuse as early as today (and could be returned immediately post-game). Gudas sustained an injury during last night's affair with the Maple Leafs, but endured it, overcame (Boston Strong) and scored the game winning goal. Gudas' slot in Tampa will be filled by temporary-signee Mathieu Roy while Panik's spot will be filled by Malone, Benoit Pouliot and Dana Tyrell (...three players who have been scratched at various times in favor of Panik).
It's Tuukka time once more for the B's: Tuukka Rask starts in net with his daunting 2.00 GAA and .929 save percentage. That's a damn sight better than you'd see from Lightning goalies but it's also a testament about the Bruins defense which continues to be led by the tower known as Zdeno Chara.
I don't know what to expect tonight from the Lightning. Last night, they got the gift of a Leafs team resting up for the playoffs. Boston, on the other hand, still has something to play for - the Northeast division title. They're currently tied with the Montréal Canadiens in the standings with a game in-hand on Les Habs. The difference between a division title and a second place finish is playing the Ottawa Senators/New York Rangers (7th and 8th seed in the East, tied with 52 points each) or Toronto Maple Leafs )5th seed).
(The Ranger sand Senators have not clinched playoff berths yet, while the Maple Leafs playoff seed is not locked in)
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