Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: SunS, FSDT
Opponent SBNation Site: Stanley Cup of Chowder
Our team is weird, guys. The Tampa Bay Lightning doesn’t seem to care whether the goalie in net is AHL quality, backup quality, or Vezina-nominated — they still figure out a way to outscore his goals-against and win. Since Andrei Vasilevskiy’s foot fracture was reported on November 15, Louis Domingue (and, let’s be honest, the rest of his team) has made an impressive run of it, winning nine games and losing two. And Tuesday night, Eddie Pasquale added his first NHL win to the mix. Goals against is another matter entirely.
During this stretch, TB has allowed 3+ goals in 8, 4+ in 4, and 5+ in 2. TB is taking the “score yourself out of problems” quite literally over this stretch.— Matthew Esteves (@mattesteves89) December 5, 2018
Compare this to the Boston Bruins’ bloggers discussing how their team did behind Jaroslav Halak this past Tuesday in Sunrise (a 5-0 shutout loss in Roberto Luongo’s first appearance back after injury):
Halak has allowed 8 goals in his last two appearances. On Tuesday he allowed 5 goals. Now if these were great goals I would only be slightly mad. I know that the Bruins defense can have bad games, (which they did) but Halak gave up some horrible goals. (Chowder and Champions)
We’d all probably sound the same about our goaltending if our offense wasn’t able to produce as much as it does. What else are the Bruins bloggers complaining about?
- Injuries. Last season the Bruins were a two-ish line team. With Patrice Bergeron out since late November due to injured ribs and a shoulder, the Bruins are down to David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand for their main offensive firepower — and have been hard-pressed to find a good winger for them after Riley Nash left for the Blue Jackets. Kevan Miller is also out on injury, leaving a lot of holes in the forward lineup. Charlie McAvoy joined Zdeno Chara on the injured D list, meaning that the usual tough defense that might have stymied any goals against Tuukka Rask or Halak is also weaker than normal.
- Boston’s farm isn’t as good as Tampa’s farm. When the big guns go down, Tampa reaches to the Syracuse Crunch and gets guys that are so good it’s hard to imagine sending them back down when their stints are over. In the case of the Bruins, they currently have three Providence Bruins filling out their forward ranks — Ryan Donato (2G, 14 GP), Colby Cave (1A, 6 GP), and 13th forward Forsbacka Karlsson (2G, 9 GP). Four other players, Anders Bjork (1G/2A, 20 GP), Jeremy Lauson (1G, 15 GP), Jakub Zboril (defenseman), and Connor Clifton (defenseman), have been sent back after failing to rise to the occasion. Will the promoted Providence players be able to score on Domingue? (Well. Likely.)
- Penalties. The biggest complaint that the Bruins bloggers had about the game against Florida were the number of penalties earned, a total of seven, with the Panthers converting on two of the seven chances.
The meeting with Tampa will be more emotional for the Bruins than the match in Florida, neatly summarized by David Backes’ quote after Tuesday’s match:
That’s why I’m glad we don’t play football. We don’t have to wait another week to get things going in the right direction. We have a heck of a challenge against a team that ended our season last year. So, if you can’t get up for that one, then you don’t belong to be here, and we need to have a great, concerted effort from all 20 guys in that game to get a win.
Will this emotion, coupled with Tuukka Rask likely getting the start, be enough for the Bruins to defeat Tampa at home?
That’s the question, eh?
These aren’t the same Bruins from recent seasons. They no longer dominate in shot share and expected goal share the way they did in the past. Part of that is due to injuries. Part could also be due to the change in systems away from what Claude Julien used to run. Yes, he left before last season but habits linger and it’s possible what we’re seeing this season is the full Bruce Cassidy system.
The struggles are most prominent on offense where the team generates an average amount of shots but those shots are incredibly low quality. Their defensive numbers are still impressive so if they can start generating some more dangerous chances, they should see their overall profile start to improve.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller
Mathieu Joseph - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan
Adam Erne - Danick Martel
Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev
Slater Koekkoek - Anton Stralman (injured)
Brad Marchand - Colby Cave - David Pastrnak
Ryan Donato - David Krejci - Jake DeBrusk
Danton Heinen - Joakim Nordstrom - Noel Acciari
Chris Wagner - Sean Kuraly - David Backes
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson
Matt Grzelcyk - Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug - John Moore
Jeremy Lauzon - Connor Clifton/Steven Kampfer