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Preview: Bruins head to Tampa for season’s first match-up with Lightning

A big bout.

2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs: Boston Bruins Vs Tampa Bay Lightning At Amalie Arena Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Just the facts

When: Tonight, 7 PM

Where: Amalie Arena - Tampa, FL

How to follow: NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub

Opposing perspective: Raw Charge

Know your enemy

  • 8-6-4, 20PTS, 4th in the Atlantic Division
  • Nikita Kucherov: 13G-14A-27PTS; Brayden Point: 7G-16A-23PTS; Victor Hedman: 4G-15A-19PTS
  • Jonas Johansson: 7-4-4, 3.40 GAA, .896 save percentage

Game notes

  • The Bruins’ Atlantic jaunt continues with the season’s first trip to Florida, as tonight’s game is the first of a two-game Florida swing that will take the B’s into American Thanksgiving on Thursday.
  • Tampa has had an up-and-down stretch of late, going 3-3-1 in their last seven games. They won their last time out, a 6-4 win over Edmonton that saw them score four goals in the third period.
  • Nikita Kucherov remains quite good, with an impressive 27 points in just 17 games.
  • At first glance, it’s surprising to see Tampa down at 4th in the division (even though it’s early). However, struggles were bound to happen with Andrei Vasilevskiy out, and a look at their goaltending stats suggests that their overall fortunes will improve once he’s back: both of their goalies are sporting sub-.900 save percentages and GAAs of 3.40.
  • Tampa continues to be a top-10 team in most team stats: power play, penalty kill, face-off percentage, GF/G, etc. However, the point above stands out starkly when you see Tampa has the league’s 27th-ranked GA/G mark at 3.61.
  • I feel like many of us (myself included) have said this multiple times already this season, but these next two games should be a good test for the Bruins. You may remember that a Tampa-Florida-Carolina swing around this time last year gave was supposed to give the B’s their first real taste of adversity, only to see them go 1-1-1. A good Tampa team followed by a return to the Florida house of horrors should be a good measuring stick.
  • Roster-wise, things appear to be relatively steady for the Bruins, with the exception of David Pastrnak not practicing on Sunday. He left Saturday’s game for a bit before returning, so it’s possible that his missing practice is more of a precaution than anything else.
  • Milan Lucic is due in court either today or tomorrow — going forward, we will likely only be posting on this subject in the event of official, confirmed news or roster transactions. You’re welcome to discuss it, of course; I just don’t want to add to the swirl of noise, rumors, etc. that have been going since Saturday.

See ya tonight!