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PREVIEW: Bruins visit league-leading Tampa Bay Lightning

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The only two teams that have clinched a playoff spot in the East square off!

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins
Moore has found himself in the lineup for long stretches due to multiple injuries on the back end for Boston.
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

PREVIEW

Just the Facts

Who: The Boston Bruins (46-20-9, 101 pts, 2nd in Atlantic) visit the Tampa Bay Lightning (58-14-4, 120 pts, 1st in Atlantic/East/NHL)

What: Boston is still trying to get healthy, though there’s been good news of late - except for Sean Kuraly, recently sidelined for a month with a broken hand. Tampa isn’t even trying anymore. (Well, they shouldn’t, anyways.)

When: 7:30 PM ET

Where: AMALIE Arena, Tampa, FL

How to watch: ESPN+, TVAS, SNE, SNO, SNP, SUN, NESN

Rival SBN site: Raw Charge

Know Your Enemy

Team Leaders

Goals: Brayden Point, 40

Assists: Nikita Kucherov, 83

Points: Kucherov, 120 (!!)

Game Notes

  • All of Tampa’s regular-season success has been the best from any team in recent memory. They’re on the verge of being the first team with over 60 wins in over a decade, have seen crazy point totals from their top line of Kucherov (37-83-120), Point (40-50-90) and Steven Stamkos (39-50-89). It’s a steep drop after that, with Victor Hedman at 52 points. AND, their ice time is down as detailed by Raw Charge’s GeoFitz, making their point totals all the more impressive.
  • For Boston, a bit of bad injury luck saw their ridiculous points streak come to an end, and they’ve been struggling to find consistency against peak competition since. Sure, barnburners like Saturday’s 7-3 win over the Florida Panthers are fun to watch, but this is such an important game for them as any playoff path out of the East presumably goes through Tampa.
  • Through the two matchups between these teams thus far this season, Tampa has brought out backup goalie Louis Domingue to face off against Tuukka Rask. Might tonight be the first time Andrei Vasilevskiy sees action against Boston this season, or do they keep the Bruins guessing until the potential playoff series?
  • Speaking of goaltending, Rask and Jaroslav Halak have effectively split the season, with Rask getting just a few more games. It’s hard to consider that Halak might start in the playoffs, but it’s good insurance to have, so he might need to pick up a few extra starts in these final few weeks.