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Preview: The Bruins host Tampa in the Atlantic Showdown you’ve been waiting for

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The top two teams in the Atlantic are ready for a playoff rematch.

Boston Bruins v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Two Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Just the facts

When: Tonight, 7:30 PM

Where: TD Garden - Boston, MA

How to follow: 98.5 The Sports Hub, NBCSN

Rival SBN site: Raw Charge

Know your enemy

Note: All of these stats (and everything in this preview, actually) are from before Tampa’s Wednesday night game with the Rangers.

  • 48-11-4, 100 PTS, 1st in the Atlantic Division
  • Nikita Kucherov: 30G-71A-101PTS; Brayden Point: 36G-43A-79PTS; Steven Stamkos: 33G-42A-76PTS
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy: 28-7-4, 2.26 GAA, .930 save percentage

Game notes

  • It’s here, folks! The one you’ve been waiting for. The Bruins get to face the team that everyone assumes is miles ahead of them in the Atlantic. It’s not exactly a marquee match-up, however: the Bruins are without their leading goal-scorer in David Pastrnak, while the Bolts will be playing their second game in as many nights.
  • Andrei Vasilevskiy played for Tampa Wednesday night in New York, so the Bruins will probably see back-up Louis Domingue tonight. Domingue has a 19-4-0 a back-up. YIKES.
  • The Bruins are considered among the more top-heavy teams in the NHL, but it’s amazing to see the gulf between scorers #3 and #4 on Tampa. Steven Stamkos is 3rd on the Bolts with 75 points. Tyler Johnson is 4th, a casual 38 points behind Stamkos. It’s no knock on Johnson, of course; more a testament to how unbelievable Kucherov, Point and Stamkos have been.
  • The Bruins have been on a torrid point pace in February, but they’ve made up virtually no ground on Tampa. Why? The Bolts haven’t lost in regulation since January 30th, a 4-2 loss to the Penguins. That’s a 13-game point streak. It’s not just a point streak either: going into last night’s game against the Rangers, Tampa had won 9 games in a row.
  • If the Bolts took at least one point from the Rangers last night, this has to be one of the more unique streaking games in NHL history, right? I can’t imagine two teams on 14-game point streaks have faced each other many times.
  • Patrice Bergeron didn’t practice on Wednesday, but per the team, he was given a maintenance day. He should be good to go tonight, while Noel Acciari may miss time due to dental work and Kevan Miller remains questionable.
  • Jake DeBrusk appears to be no worse for wear after an awkward fall in Tuesday night’s game against San Jose.
  • If Acciari can’t go, Karson Kuhlman will probably draw back in. If not, Bruce Cassidy could opt to bump David Backes down to the 4th line and slot Peter Cehlarik at 3RW.
  • Tampa took the only other regular season meeting between these two teams, beating the Bruins 3-2 in Tampa back on December 6.

See ya tonight!