Bruins begin FLA trip with stop in Tampa Bay

The Bruins will start their quick 2-game Pre-Thanksgiving road trip to Florida with a date with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins will try to bounced back from a 4-3 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night and continue their 4-game point streak. The Lightning enter tonight's game riding a 3-game win streak that includes a wild 8-7 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night.

This is the first of four meetings between the Bruins and Lightning this season. Last Season, the B's and Lightning split the season series 2-2.

The Lightning are off to an 11-7-2 start and are currently 2nd in the Southeast Division. Steven Stamkos picked up right where he left off last season. The 20-year-old sniper has racked up 34 points (19-15-34) in just 20 games. Stamkos leads the league in both points and goals. He is also 4th in the NHL in shooting percentage. Dan Ellis and Mike Smith have split time this season between the pipes for the Bolts with Ellis getting 11 starts and Smith getting the nod in 9 games. Ellis has posted a 5-4-2 record with 2 shutouts, a 2.81 GAA, and a .898 save percentage. Smith is 6-3-0 with a 3.38 GAA and a .879 save percentage.

The Lightning are pretty banged up right now. Key forwards Vincent Lacavalier (fractured hand) and Simon Gagne (neck) are both on the shelf for the Lightning. Defenseman Matt Smaby is questionable for tonight's game after spraining his ankle playing pre-game hallway soccer before a game against the Phoenix Coyotes on October 30th. The Lightning will get Mattias Ritola back after serving a 2-game suspension for a hit on Matt Moulson of the New York Islanders.

The Bruins have had great success on the road this season posting a 7-1-0 record as the away team. The B's will try to run that mark to 9-1-0 before they return home for Causeway Day.

Notes:

- Did you know?: Milan Lucic is leading the league in shooting percentage (29.4%).

- The Lightning assigned forward Johan Harju and defenseman Mike Vernance to the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL. Having just returned from a week in Norfolk, I can honestly say that there a lot of places I would rather be than Norfolk, VA.

- The Lightning have the 5th most potent offense in the league. They are averaging 3.10 goals per game, but they also give up 3.20 goals per game (24th in NHL).

- Old friend Nate Thompson has 8 points (3-5-8) in 20 games this season. He also has some sweet hockey hair.

- Tampa Bay special teams play has been great this season. They are 3rd in both penalty killing (89%) and power play success (24.4%).

- Can Stamkos be the next to get 50 in 50?

- Congratulations to Chris Crawford of Hub Hockey for submitting the winning "rule" for the Bruins new TV spot.

- Tonight's puck drop is 7:30 PM ET. The Public Skate open thread gets started at 7:00 PM ET. The game can be seen on Versus and TSN2 (for our friends north of the border) and heard on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

- For more on tonight's game, check out Raw Charge

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