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Game 73 Preview: Bruins (36-24-12) at Lightning (44-21-7)

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Here we go again!

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Bruins-Panthers game finished after 9 PM last night, so this game will be on less than 20 hours rest, even worse than your typical back-to-back. The Lightning were off yesterday, so they'll have the decided advantage in the rest category.

You know the story for the Bruins. They need wins, they need points. Yesterday's loss means that if the Senators and Bruins both win the rest of their games, it's Ottawa who gets in. After this game, the Bruins will be off until the Ducks game on Saturday, then face the New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes on a back-to-back. The Sens have the Sharks tomorrow, the Rangers on Thursday, and then Toronto and Florida as their back-to-back. At that point, the games played will be even, so this week is pretty damn huge.

Not to mention, if both sides slip up, Florida is lurking only four points behind.

The Lightning come into this game four points back of Montreal for the division lead with a game in hand. They've rather notoriously struggled vs. the Bruins in terms of that whole "winning" thing of late, despite being the better team this season. This is the first match-up at their place, with rest of their side. Let's hope the Bruins can continue the trend regardless.

The Bad Boy Bolts, 95 Points (3rd In The East)

Tampa is four back of the Habs and two back of the Rangers for the top spot in the East. They've once again been hot since the SO loss vs. Boston.

Forward Lines:

It looks like the, unlike last game vs. the Bruins, the "triplets" second line will be back together, which has been a very effective unit for the Bolts this year.

Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Johnathan Drouin

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Vladislav Namestnikov - Valtteri Filppula - Ryan Callahan

Brenden Morrow - Brian Boyle - J.T. Brown

D-Pairings:

Braydon Coburn is the only one missing at the Tampa blue line, apparently due to a lower body injury.

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Matthew Carle

Andrej Sustr - Mark Barberio

And In Net:

No starter confirmed as of yet.

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

And last but not least:

SBNation Enemy Hub: Raw Charge

So the Lightning are healthier and more rested. Sounds good!

Your Boston Bruins, 83 Points (8th In The East)

With four days before the next game after this one, I'd expect a huge effort to grab this victory. This might include another Rask back-to-back start.

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Daniel Paille

Milan Lucic - Ryan Spooner - David Pastrnak

Chris Kelly - Carl Soderberg - Loui Eriksson

Brian Ferlin - Gregory Campbell - Maxime Talbot

This is the line-up the Bruins went with yesterday, though without anything official, a rested Reilly Smith could be back in today. Again, the prospect of moving Loui up should be considered, since it's not like the Soderberg line is setting the world on fire these days anyway.

D-Pairings:

Dougie Hamilton's injury is still unclear as to the nature of it or how serious it is, but he will not play in today's game. The Bruins have recalled Zach Trotman on an emergency basis. So I'm guessing this will be something like:

Zdeno Chara - Dennis Seidenberg

Matt Bartkowski - Zach Trotman

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

...but who really knows at this point? Ideally, Seidenberg's TOI would be cut, but this is far from an ideal season. It's to the point where it was noticeable that any forward line that was on with Not Zdeno Chara was having a hard time getting out of its own zone in the third period last night. Move that puck!

And In Net:

Tuukka Rask

Niklas Svedberg

No starter confirmed yet, but I'm expecting Rask and then Sveddy next weekend.

~

The game time is 5 PM for some reason! Let's go, Bruins!