Time: 1:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: TD Garden
Broadcast/Streaming: SN360, NESN, SUN Sports
Opponent SBNation Site: Stanley Cup of Chowder
The Tampa Bay Lightning face the Boston Bruins on Saturday afternoon in the final game of the regular season. Both teams have clinched playoff berths and even home ice advantage in the first round a long time ago and are now preparing for the postseason.
The Lightning have won two of their three games against Boston this season, including last game about two weeks ago at Amalie Arena. The Bruins let several players rest last game. Brad Marchand, David Krejci and Zdeno Chara didn’t played against the Minessota Wild, but probably will be back tonight. Some players are still injured: Sean Kuraly has been injured for the last two weeks, Chris Wagner and Kevan Miller were also absent due to minor injuries.
The Bruins will face the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round for the second year in a row. The Leafs haven’t been very successful lately, so Bruins fans could be a little bit optimistic. On the other hand, the Bolts still wait for their opponent. If the Carolina Hurricanes defeat Philadelphia Flyers tonight, the Lightning will play the Columbus Blue Jackets. If the Canes lose their game and the Jackets beat the Ottawa Senators, the Bolts will face the Hurricanes.
Injured players are slowly returning to the line-up for Tampa. Anton Stralman played about 19 minutes on Thursday night against the Leafs. Dan Girardi skated with the team’s strength coach last week and it will be decided right before the game if he’s playing. It would be his first game since March 7th. Louis Domingue is still listed as day-to-day and Eddie Pasquale stays with the Lightning as a backup.
Jon Cooper is still hopeful that Victor Hedman will be ready for the Game 1 of the playoffs. It will be more clear on Monday, when team returns to practice at Amalie Arena. JT Miller is also expected to be back tonight after being a healthy scratch against the Leafs.
There are still a few personal and league records that could be broken tonight. With a victory over the Bruins, the Lightning can match the Detroit Red Wings record from the 1995-96 season for the most wins in single season. Nikita Kucherov is two points away from breaking the record for most points in a single season for Russian players. If he gets two assists tonight, it would be also a new NHL assist record by a winger.
No matter if these records will be accomplished, it was a spectacular regular season by the Tampa Bay Lightning. But now it’s time to focus on a bigger things.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Tyler Johnson
Yanni Gourde - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph
Adam Erne - Cedric Paquette - JT Miller
Scratched: Danick Martel, Ryan Callahan
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Anton Stralman - Mikhail Sergachev
Braydon Coburn - Jan Rutta
Scratched: Cameron Gaunce
Injured: Victor Hedman, Dan Girardi
Injured: Louis Domingue
Jake DeBrusk - Patrice Bergeron - David Pastrnak
Marcus Johansson - Charlie Coyle - Zach Senyshyn
Danton Heinen - Trent Frederic - Karson Kuhlman
Joakim Nordstrom - Noel Acciari - David Backes
Torey Krug - Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk - Kevan Miller
Connor Clifton - Steven Kampfer