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Lightning at Bruins preview: Down... but not out

It’s a battle of two teams on losing skids.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Boston Bruins Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Lightning at Bruins: Game 73

Time: 7 pm Eastern Time

Location: TD Garden

Broadcast/Streaming: SUN, NESN, TVAS

Opponent SBNation Site: Stanley Cup of Chowder

Preview:

Every new game is a must-win for teams fighting in the playoffs; the latest game is more crucial than the previous one, especially if you failed to pick up any points that last game. That’s the situation the Lightning and Bruins are both in, so you might say tonight’s game is a battle of... the losers?

Because the Lightning are on a three-game slide and the Bruins have dropped back-to-back games. But the Bruins are holding on to the second and final wild-card spot in the East, something the Lightning are desperate for.

So it’s simple math: If the Lightning get two points, they’re so much closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. If the Bruins grab the points... the light is dimmer. It’s flickering. It’s burning out. Insert your favorite analogy here. The difference in points at the outcome of tonight’s game feels like such a huge disparity: being three points away from the playoffs with a win or seven points with a loss.

The Lightning pulled together a heck of a stretch to bring them this close to the playoffs — remember that they were sitting completely last in the conference at one point — but now, it’s like they don’t even know what type of hockey they want to be playing. 1-0 games? When they’re giving up five goals? We’re by no means an expert at math, but that doesn’t add up to points.

So, yes, this is a must-win game that’s more important than the last. Every point matters, so until the math says so, they’re still in it.

Additionally, when the Boston Globe declares that David Pastranak’s inability to score in two — two! — games is a slump... everything feels so much more dramatic this time of year.

Comparison chart:

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Vladislav Namestnikov - Jonathan Drouin

Adam Erne - Yanni Gourde - Joel Vermin

JT Brown - Gabriel Dumont - Luke Witkowski

Defensemen

Victor Hedman - Jake Dotchin

Jason Garrison - Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn - Andrej Sustr

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Peter Budaj

Boston Bruins

Forwards

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Backes

Matt Beleskey - David Krejci - David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano - Ryan Spooner - Drew Stafford

Dominic Moore - Riley Nash - Noel Acciari

Defensemen

Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Colin Miller - Kevan Miller

Goaltenders

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin