Time: 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Location: TD Garden
Broadcast/Streaming: SunS, NESN, ESPN+
Opponent SBNation Site: Stanley Cup of Chowder
The Tampa Bay Lightning have played six games on the young season. They have won three of them, lost two of them in regulation, an one in overtime. They’ve looked good in two games, horrible in two games, and average in two games. There are moments when they look like the team that rolled through the regular season last year and times when you wonder if they’ve ever played together before.
That’s not a great look for a team that many have picked to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals, but it’s also not the end of the world. The fact is, this team doesn’t have to play their best to win games (example - the win against Montreal) but they are at the point where they should at least be able to put forth a consistent effort for sixty minutes. That’s something that has really only happened against Toronto.
With Brayden Point back in the lineup the Lightning have looked much better (shocking, I know) and there is no reason to think they won’t roll out the same line combinations as they did against Montreal. What they do need to do is find a way to stop relying on Andrei Vasilevskiy so much in net. While their young netminder had a stellar game against the Canadiens, allowing 30+ shots night in and night out is not a sustainable model for success.
Going against Boston, currently sporting a 5-1 record and trailing only the surprising Buffalo Sabres in the Atlantic Division standings, the Lightning will need to put forth a full effort in order to win. The Bruins are once again rolling behind their top line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pasternak. The trio has combined for 11 goals and 13 assists through the first six games of the season.
It might be concerning for some Bruins fans that the top line has accounted for 11 of the team’s 16 goals, and second line center David Krejci left their last game after taking a puck off the foot. However, some of those concerns should be alleviated by the fact that the Bruins don’t allow very many goals. So far they have allowed only 1.67 goals per game, tops in the NHL. The Lightning are going to have to find away to sustain offensive pressure against one of the best shut down teams in the NHL right now.
Last season, the Lightning took three out of four games (including splitting the two games at TD Garden) from their burgeoning rivals, but overall their franchise record is a dismal 36-69-9 against the Bruins with a bleak 11-46-6 record in Boston.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph
Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Yanni Gourde
Patrick Maroon - Carter Verhaeghe - Luke Witkowski
Injured: Cedric Paquette
Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak
Ryan McDonagh - Kevin Shattenkirk
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev
Scratched: Jan Rutta
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - David Pasternak
Jake DeBrusk - David Krejci (?) - Brett Richie
Danton Heinen - Charlie Croyle - Karson Kuhlman
Joakim Nordstrom - Sean Kuraly - Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara - Charlie Mcavoy
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Steve Kampfer