Now, the Bruins have the defending back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning coming to town.
There’s some bad blood between these two squads. The last time these two teams met was in Toronto bubble of the 2020 playoffs. The Lighting bounced the Bruins in five games of the conference semifinals, en route to the first of two Stanley Cups in a row.
We’re in for some fireworks folks.
When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts
"Bruins projected lineHall-Bergeron-PastrnakHaula-Coyle-SmithFoligno-Frederic-KuhlmanDeBrusk-Nosek-Lazar Grzelcyk-CarloReilly-CliftonForbort-Ahcan SwaymanUllmark"
"Lightning projected linesPalat-Stamkos-Barre-BouletKillorn-Cirelli-FortierKathouk-Colton-RaddyshMaroon-Bellemare-PerryHedman-RuttaMcDonagh-CernakSergachev-BogosianVasilevskiyElliott"
A couple of notes that stick out – Jakub Zboril is out for tonight’s game after getting hit hard in the Nashville game by Tanner Jeannot. He had a hard time putting weight on his right leg and did not return. Connor Clifton draws into the lineup in his place.
The biggest omission from morning skate was Charlie McAvoy, who is dealing with a non-COVID illness and is a game-time decision. This could be a huge blow to the Bruins’ blue line who are already shorthanded with Zboril. The right side could be a rough one today. Jack Ahcan, along with forward Oskar Steen, were recalled from Providence and Ahcan would play if McAvoy is out.
The Bruins are without Brad Marchand for the third straight game with his suspension, but this is the final game he is required to sit out.
The Lightning aren’t without their own injuries. Two of their top forwards, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, are out. As you can tell by the lines, it’s a lot of new names since the last time these two teams squared off. However, the back-end is about the same, strong as ever, and Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of, if not the best goalie in the league.
This is a huge game, not just because it’s a divisional game, but it’s a good measuring stick to see where the Bruins are at. They’ve had an extremely difficult time against teams ahead of them in the standings/in the playoffs, and this is one of those games, with the Lightning siting in third in the Atlantic with a 13-5-4 record.
The Bruins need an effort like they got on Thursday in order to beat this Lighting team.