Game #7 Preview: Bruins to battle Lightning

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Game #7: Boston Bruins (4-2) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (5-2)

Time: 7:00 PM

Location: Tampa Bay Times Forum

TV/Radio: NESN/98.5 The Sports Hub

The Bruins will pay a visit to Tampa Bay Saturday evening for the second game of a three game roadie. For the second time this season these two divisional clubs will square off. Boston defeated the Bolts on opening night at the Garden, 3-1.

Since falling to the Bruins back on October third, Tampa Bay has only lost a single contest, while winning five. The Bolts currently sit two points ahead of the Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings. Their early season success can be attributed to a lethal offensive attack and their ability to make late game rallies.

Steven Stamkos leads the Lightening with five goals and five assists. Teddy Purcell, Marty St. Louis and Valtteri Filppula all have netted four goals apiece. The Bolts have scored 22 combined goals as a team, 11 of which have come in the third period. Though this statistic comes as no surprise considering the Lightning lead the NHL in third period goals last season.

With that being said, Boston better be extra careful if they happened to find themselves playing with a lead on Saturday. This being especially true after they nearly squandered away two points in the third period of Thursday night’s game against Florida.

Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop has been red hot. He is 5-0 to start the season with 1.57 GAA and a .943 SV%. His play has been a huge boost to a team that struggled a year ago keeping pucks out of the net. The defense in front of him has been impressive. Each Tampa blue liner has a positive (+/-) rating.

In regards to the Bruins, Claude Julien will be looking for his team to string together a full sixty minutes of quality hockey. Following Thursday’s victory, Claude Julien said, “I can’t say were pleased with our game.”

Boston started off like a house on fire against the Panthers. They built an early 2-0 lead on goals by Dougie Hamilton and Danny Paille. The Bruins visibly let up after, as the strayed away from their winning formula, surrendering the lead and forcing themselves into a situation where they fortunately won the game on a late third period goal by Reilly Smith.

Reilly Smith hopes to continue and build upon the success he has had since joining Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson on the second line. Tuukka Rask has been outstanding. He stopped 27 of 29 shots against the Panthers.

The Bruins will need Rask to remain locked in, as they will be facing one of the NHL’s top offenses. The Bolts have registered 19 goals over their last five games. They are 4-1 in those contests. He’ll surely be tested in this one.

Carl Soderberg has been cleared for a return and according to coach Julien, there is a “good chance” that he’ll play against Tampa Bay. More likely than not Jordan Caron will be scratched, but it won’t be surprising to see Brad Marchand watch this tilt from the press box. Marchand has played poorly thus far and could benefit from a wake up call.

Projected Bruins lines:

Lucic-Krejci-Iginla

Smith-Bergeron-Eriksson

Marchand/Soderberg-Kelly-Caron/Soderberg

Paille-Campbell-Thornton

Chara-Boychuk

Seidenberg-Hamilton

Krug-McQuaid

Rask

Frank O’Laughlin – Senior Contributor – Titletown Sports Network 

 

 

 

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