Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview and Game Day Thread
Will the Lightning beat Boston for the first time this season?
Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #47
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: TD Garden
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, TVAS, SNE, SNO, SNP, NESN, Hulu, ESPN+
Opponent SBNation Site: Stanley Cup of Chowder
Before entering their bye-week at the end of this week, the Tampa Bay Lightning have two more very challenging games. Tonight’s game is especially important as the Lightning facing the current leader of the NHL — the Boston Bruins. If the Bolts dream about another long playoff run, which they obviously do, they should also prepare for a potential series against the Bruins, that could most likely happen in the second round.
On Tuesday the Lightning defeated the Minnesota Wild in their first game after returning to Amalie Arena from a road trip. With this victory the Bolts extended their winning streak at home to 10 games. The Lightning’s coaching staff also addressed some of their forward group issues with swapping Steven Stamkos and Brandon Hagel in their top-six. Both new lines were outshot by Minnesota in this game, but at least reimagined Stamkos-Point-Kucherov line managed to end the game with a positive expected goal share and created one goal at 5-on-5. The power play is still struggling though as the Lightning converted just one out of five opportunities during the last game. That was also their first power play goal in the last five games. Due to this slump, the Bolts dropped behind Boston to the third place in the league in power play percentage.
Not much changed for the Bruins since their last meeting with the Lightning — the team is still confidently leading the NHL with a 12-point gap over the second Toronto Maple Leafs. Boston is entering tonight’s duel with a six-game winning streak, during which they had two shutouts and allowed one or less goals in four games. The Bruins also became the fastest team in the league to reach 80 points. The regular season success, however, doesn’t necessarily translate into a playoff success and the Lightning fans probably know about it more than anyone else in the league.
The Bruins also holding the lead in almost every statistical category: they’re still scoring more than almost any team in the NHL (tied with Buffalo Sabres with 3.81 goals per game), while also allowing less than anyone else (2.02 goals against per game). Their power play unit is second in the league with 27.16 PP% and their penalty kill is the best with 86.75 PK. David Pastrnak is having an incredible season and is on pace for career-high 65 goals and 121 points. The same could be said about Linus Ullmark, who has career-best .938 SV% and 1.82 GAA in 30 games this season and therefore one of the main contenders for the Vezina Trophy. Patrice Bergeron might also win his sixth Selke Trophy, but that doesn’t surprise anyone anymore. Boston is also hoping to become even stronger and deeper at the upcoming trade deadline and pushing for a potential Bo Horvat trade with the Vancouver Canucks.
So far this season, the Bruins defeated the Bolts twice: once in Boston and once in Tampa Bay. The Bolts weren’t dominated in any of those games and gave their opponents a proper fight, especially in the game in Boston, but still lacked that something extra to beat the Bruins. To succeed tonight, the Bolts would need to stay focused the whole game and don’t allow too many unnecessary penalties as the Bruins converted 3 out of 5 power play opportunities in two previous games this season.
Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning Game Comparison
|Game # 47||Tampa Bay Lightning||Boston Bruins|
Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines
Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Vlad Namestnikov - Nick Paul - Ross Colton
Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix
Ian Cole - Erik Cernak
Boston Bruins Projected Lines
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Craig Smith
Pavel Zacha - David Krejci - David Pastrnak
Taylor Hall - Charlie Coyle - Trent Frederic
Nick Foligno - Joona Koppanen - A.J. Greer
Matt Grzelcyk - Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm - Brandon Carlo
Derek Forbort - Connor Clifton