Justin K. Aller
Get outta here, Nemo - there's a lot of Bruins fans who want to see Steven Stamkos and Guy Boucher's face.
Just the Facts:
Game time: 7:00PM EST at TD Garden. TV broadcast: New England Sports Network (NESN). Radio broadcast: 98.5 The Sports Hub
Records: Bruins (7-1-1) vs. Lightning (6-4-0)
Get tickets here: Boston Bruins Tickets
Projected Lightning lines:
Malone - Stamkos - St. Louis
Conacher - Lecavalier - Purcell
Pouliot - Pyatt -Labrie
Hall - Thompson - Crombeen
Salo - Hedman
Brewer - Carle
Lee - Aulie
Projected Bruins lines:
Lucic - Krejci - Seguin
Peverley - Bergeron - Horton
Bourque - Kelly - Tardif
Paille - Campbell - Thornton
Chara - Boychuk
Seidenberg - Hamilton
Ference - McQuaid
The main storyline here today is...will the game actually go on? Since both teams are in town and it's such a shortened season, odds are that despite the travel ban and the shut-down MBTA, despite Mayor Menino urging people to stay home and not get out and about -- the game will, in fact, likely go on. If it does, expect some good pictures of the two dozen people that live close enough to the Garden to walk there to see the Lightning play.
If you do try to get out and get to the game, please be safe. Don't try to drive unless the ban is lifted - which it likely won't be within the next few hours. If you're walking, please be aware of plows and the few vehicles on the road, especially after it gets dark - many sidewalks aren't even dented, and people are walking on the roads. Put your own safety first; it's not worth getting hurt or stuck over a hockey game.
The Lightning are coming in off a rough loss to the Devils, caused in part by their coach's antics (seen in the gif above.) Boucher's mocking of the refs earned his team a bench minor on top of the penalty they'd already just taken, and the Devils went on to score two power play goals - the final score being 4-2. It was the Bolts' third loss in a row.
In order to shut down the Lightning today, the Bruins have a pretty clear-cut path - shut down the big scorers. Clog up the shooting lanes. Martin St. Louis leads the league in assists right now; Vinny Lecavalier is always a threat, and Steven Stamkos is...well, Steven Stamkos. He leads his team with seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points. Old friend Benoit Pouliot has done fairly well for himself, with six points through 10 games. Rookie Cory Conacher leads all rookies in points right now, with 12 points in 10 games.
In goal tonight for Tampa will be Mathieu Garon. He's only played six career games against the Bruins over the 12 years he's been in the league; in those six games, he is 4-2-0. BJ Crombeen should also be back in the lineup after taking a pummeling during a fight against the Flyers' Zac Rinaldo two games ago.
For the Bruins today, there are a few significant questions about the lineup. First, it seems as if Claude Julien is seriously considering switching Tyler Seguin up to the first line with Milan Lucic and David Krejci; the switch saw immediate results against the Canadiens on Wednesday, where that line had looked a little sluggish previously. If Brad Marchand returns to the lineup, he'll play on the second line with Patrice Bergeron and Nathan Horton, and the third and fourth lines will remain unchanged; if not, Rich Peverley will slide up to second line wing with Bergeron and Horton, and Jamie Tardif will be on the third line with Chris Bourque and Chris Kelly.
Tuukka Rask will start in net for the Bruins.
The Lightning have only won in Boston five times total in their time as an NHL franchise. Hopefully tonight that number will remain unchanged.