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Game 68 Preview: Bruins (37-23-7) at Lightning (39-23-4)

One win in Florida down, one to go.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

To say that the Bruins made things too exciting after getting up 4-1 in last night's game would be putting it mildly; some combination of subpar defense, lackluster coaching (a team just isn't supposed to sit back for as long as the Bruins did without some adjustments being made), and perhaps taking the hosts too lightly temporarily conspired to rob the Boston Bruins of second place. Even after Lee Stempniak's laser of a wrister claimed the second point for the B's in OT, the loser point that the Florida Panthers deservedly grabbed for their efforts kept them ahead of Boston by virtue of having played one less game.

Coming off surrendering 51 SOG before pulling off the exciting win, tonight's game is likely a tall order for the Bruins. Tampa has also pretty blatantly outplayed Boston so far this season in head-to-heads, having won two out of three, and, sadly for the Bruins, Tuukka Rask's heroic efforts to salvage the win last night mean that either Rask has to play again with only a 24-hour break or Jonas Gustavsson (down at .909 SV% now) has to be relied on. Tampa played last night, losing for the first time in ten games, but has a rested Ben Bishop ready to go.

It's a huge divisional game, and it's also the second half of a road back-to-back and the Bruins' third game in four days. I wouldn't be surprised at either a line-up switch or two, or if tonight's game gets very chippy.

Just The Facts:

When: 7:30 PM

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa FL

How To Watch: NESN, TVAS, SUN, NHL.TV

Records: Tampa Bay Lightning, 39-23-4, 82 Points in 66 Games,1st in the Atlantic. Boston Bruins, 37-23-7, 81 Points in 67 Games, 3rd in the Atlantic.

Splits/L10: Tampa at Home: 21-10-2. Boston Away: 22-7-3. Tampa L10: 9-1-0. Boston L10: 6-3-1.

Head-To-Head: Tampa has won two of three, the last match-up being a 4-1 Lightning victory on February 28th.

Game Notes:

  • Despite the slip-up that allowed Florida to take stay ahead of them, the Bruins can leapfrog both them and tonight's opponents with a win. Both Florida teams would still have a game in hand, but that would be nice.
  • Defensemen Braydon Coburn and Andrej Sustr are day-to-day for Tampa.
  • With Zach Trotman back in the line-up last night instead of the injured Kevan Miller, John-Michael Liles played the 3rd most on the team, logging 22:37. He only trailed Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug in TOI. That's a little more like it.
  • As detailed below, there's no pre-game skate in Florida, so we're waiting on the B's to give us a clue what to expect in terms of starting goalie/defense:

Remember to set your clocks for another weird 7:30 PM time, and we'll see you all for the game thread about an hour ahead of time!