Bruins Looking For Two In Tampa
Boston Bruins (9-2-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (8-6-1)
Half the Bruins missed practice Tuesday due to "flu like symptoms" so hopefully some sunshine in Florida for the next three days will brighten up not only those symptoms but some very un-Bruins like play we've been seeing.
This is the first of three meetings for the B's and the Lightning and the only one in Florida. Last season, the two teams split their four games, each winning at home. The Bruins certainly need two points, despite a reasonably strong start they have played the fewest games of any NHL team and find themselves in fifth place in the East. As welcoming as a three day rest should be for a team that just had the flu, the Black and Gold really need some consistency which can only come from momentum.
Consistency means sixty minutes of hockey EVERY night, improving the power play (clearing the top twenty in the league would be nice) and not coughing up the puck in the neutral zone and allowing cheap turnovers.
The Good News
Its currently 80 degrees in Tampa this evening. So there's that. Oh and the Embassy Suites, next door to the Times Forum has open bar from 5-7pm...tell Antonio, Sarah sent you.
The Bad News
Tampa has the best offense in the league with 59 goals and its first two lines host some of the best goal scorers in hockey. That isn't good news for a weak Bruins defense and neutral zone presence. If you give the Lightning an inch they'll take a mile and by mile I mean ten goals in their last two games. With the best one-timer in hockey, Steven Stamkos doesn't need much time to score and Boston's defense will definitely be put to the test.
Lately the Bruins have been taking stupid penalties and will have to be weary of that tonight. Tampa has the third best power play in the NHL which will certainly challenge the Bruin's number one penalty kill.
Tampa was defensively strong against Toronto on Tuesday and is looking to make it three wins in a row after an embarrassing six losses.
Cue the broken record...Bruins need sixty minutes of solid defensively minded hockey and offensive from all four lines (who are more than capable). The only weak spot in Tampa's arsenal is their goaltending and Boston will need to be firing on all cylinders to out score the Lightning.
Tuukka Rask does not have the best record against Tampa and is just 1-2-0 with a 4.06 goals against average career against Stamkos and St. Louis. No word who gets the start for the Spoked B's.
As much as it pains me...and it might just be the cough medicine talking (hey we were all sick this week)...I give this to Tampa by two.
Where To Find It
Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Florida 7:30 pm
TV: NHL Network
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub
Where To Find Me