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Preview: Bruins welcome the beasts of the East

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Steven Stamkos is a treasure and anyone who disagrees is wrong.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Just the facts

When: Wednesday, 7:30 PM

Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA

How to follow: NBC Sports Network (Online Stream), 98.5 The Sports Hub

Rival SBN site: Raw Charge

Note: All Tampa stats were from Tuesday afternoon, as a wrote this preview before their Tuesday night game against Buffalo.

The situation

Tampa Bay: 16-5-2, 34 points, 1st in the Atlantic Division

Bruins: 10-8-4, 24 points, 4th in the Atlantic Division

Team leaders

Steven Stamkos, 10G-26A-36PTS; Nikita Kucherov, 17G-17A-34PTS; Vladislav Namestnikov, 10G-12A-22PTS

Andrei Vasilevskiy, 15-3-1, 2.31 GAA, 0.930 sv %

Game notes

  • Buckle up and pray! Steven Stamkos leads the league in points. Andrei Vasilevskiy leads the league in wins. Tampa leads the Eastern Conference in points. Tampa is first in the league in goals per game (3.70), owns the league’s best power play (26.7%) and allows the sixth-fewest goals per game (2.65). They’re good, in other words.
  • The Bruins...well...lol. David Krejci is out. Jake DeBrusk is out. Peter Cehlarik is out. Anders Bjork is out. This is fun.
  • However, let’s look on the bright side: David Backes might be back. Brad Marchand might be back. Ryan Spooner should be back. OK, so it isn’t all bad.
  • I’m concerned about Backes returning, to be honest. He’s a little over a month into the recovery from his surgery; the original timetable was two months. This isn’t a pulled muscle or broken bone: it’s an internal organ. Take the time to recover.
  • Could the Bruins dodge a bullet? Andrei Vasilevskiy started Tampa’s Tuesday night game against Buffalo, making it a possibility that back-up Peter Budaj starts in Boston. Budaj is just 1-2-1 this season, with a sub-.900 save percentage. COME ONNNNNNNN, BACK-UP!
  • No real word yet on who will start between the pipes for the Bruins, but it seems like Bruce Cassidy is leaning toward Tuukka Rask. Probably a good idea, as Rask gives the Bruins a better chance to win.
  • Tampa’s jerseys are among the best in the NHL. Do not argue this point.
  • Rask is 13-6-1 in his career against Tampa. Anton Khudobin is 2-1-0. Vasilevskiy is 0-1-1 against the Bruins, while Budaj is 6-4-0 against the Bruins.

Never forget

I maintain that this is one of the smoothest one-timers of all time.