Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins Preview and Game Day Thread
No room for mistakes today.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins: GAME #74
Time: 1:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: TD Garden
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, NESN, SN, NHLNETWORK
Opponent SBNation Site: Stanley Cup of Chowder
Well, there’s really not much to say prior to this game. The Lightning simply have to find a way to play a 60-minute game today in front of a national audience (well, kind of national, it’s on NHL Network) or else they will be absolutely run off the ice by the best team in hockey.
There really is no debate this year as the Boston Bruins started off hot, stayed hot, and look like they will finish hot (7-3 in their last 10), They’re on pace to trample the modern day records for wins and points in a regular season. Okay, trample is a strong term for the wins, they’re on pace for 64, which is just two more than the single season record of 62 held by the Lightning and the Detroit Red Wings. Points wise, they are still on pace to beat the mark of 132 held by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens who did it in 80 games. Will there be an asterisk if it takes Boston 82 games to beat it? Who knows?
The Bruins have scoring (3.76 goals for per game, second in the league) and defense (2.11 goals allowed per game, first in the league). Their starting goaltender, Linus Ullmark is going to win the Vezina Trophy (35 wins, .937 SV%, 1.95 GAA, 32.84 GSAx) and their back-up, Jeremy Swayman (19 wins, .921 SV%, 2.19 GAA, 15.95 GSAx) isn’t too shabby either.
David Pastrnak is driving the offense with a career-high 49 goals (no way he doesn’t get 50 against the Lightning, right?) and should hit 100 points for the first time in his career. He’s been aided on the second line by the return of David Krejci, who spent last season in the Czech Republic. Krejci has 16 goals and 39 assists, giving the Bruins something they’ve struggled with in the past - scoring depth in their line-up.
Simply put, they are a regular season juggernaut and with only 11 regulation losses have imposed their will on the Eastern Conference (6 of their losses have come against Western Conference teams). The Lightning are one of the few teams to have recorded a victory against them this season, a 3-2 win at Amalie Arena back in January. That win was a highlight of their 12-game home winning streak and may have been the last time fans had confidence in this team’s ability to go far in the playoffs (it’s a joke, people, we still believe in them!).
Since then it’s been a struggle for the Bolts to put together any type of of winning streak and they are currently in a three-game losing streak and five-game streak of not looking all that great. However, it can all change with one solid game. Hopefully, a chance at disrupting Boston’s history run can shake off a little of the malaise that has settled over the Lightning since the All-Star break and propel them into a strong finish to the regular season as they prepare for their first round match-up against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The key will be to limit their mistakes and look for scoring from lines other than the Point line. Chances are they will be shadowed by Patrice Bergeron for most of the game, and he is still an elite defensive center. The likes of Steven Stamkos, Nick Paul, Anthony Cirelli, and Alex Killorn will have to be the ones that drive the offense today. If they can do that, and knock out the silly turnovers, they have a chance to win and right the ship a bit.
With their first two-day break in more than a month looming after the game, expect a playoff like effort coming from the Bolts today. It should be a fun afternoon of hockey.
Lightning at Bruins Comparison
|Game #74||Tampa Bay Lightning||Boston Bruins|
Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines
Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Steven Stamkos - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Ross Colton - Nick Paul - Pat Maroon
Tanner Jeannot - Michael Eyssimont - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Nick Perbix
Mikhail Sergachev - Darren Raddysh
Ian Cole - Erik Cernak
Boston Bruins Potential Lines
Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Jake Debrusk
Pavel Zacha - David Krejci - David Pastrnak
Tyler Bertuzzi - Charlie Croyle - Trent Frederic
Jakub Lauko - Tomas Nosek - Garnett Hathaway
Dmitry Orlov - Charlier McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm - Brandon Carlo
Jakob Zboril - Connor Clifton