Lightning aim to stop Bruins' winning ways
Wednesday, 12.02.2009 / 7:00 PM
Adam Kimelman - NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
LIGHTNING (10-7-8) at BRUINS (13-8-5)
Last 10 --
Lightning 4-3-3; Bruins 6-1-3
Season series --
This is the first of four meetings between the teams this season. Last season, the Bruins won three of the four meetings. Marc Savard
had 5 assists in the four games. Tampa's lone win came when Vinny Prospal scored with 1:33 left in regulation in a 3-3 game Feb. 22 in Tampa.
Big story --
Can the Bruins continue to rocket up the standings? They've won five of their last six, including three of four since Savard returned to the lineup.
Can the Lightning maintain their focus? They've lost three of their last four, and two of those losses were one-goal defeats.
Tampa Bay lost Monday to Colorado, but at least got defenseman Mattias Ohlund
back in the lineup after a seven-game absence due to an ankle injury. Ohlund's return gives the Lightning eight healthy NHL defensemen, but coach Rick Tocchet believes that's a good problem to have.
"Maybe somebody's got to get moved eventually," Tocchet told the Tampa Tribune. "That's something we've got to figure out soon, because there are a lot of defensemen."
Much of the worry going into the season was what the team would do with top center Marc Savard
facing free agency at the end of the season. After seeing how the team fared while Savard missed a month with a broken foot, Boston GM Peter Chiarelli signed Savard on Monday to a seven-year contract extension that will keep Savard in Beantown through the 2016-17 season. In his first three seasons with the Bruins, Savard averaged 67 assists and 87 points; this season, he has 6 assists and 10 points in 11 games.
Who's hot --
The Bruins don't have one single offensive leader; rather, they've done a great job distributing the offense. In their last six games, nine players have combined to score 14 goals; Michael Ryder leads with 3 goals in that span.
Tampa's Steven Stamkos
had a four-game point streak snapped in Monday's 3-0 loss to the Avalanche. He also has 4 goals and 12 points in his last 10 games.
Injury report --
Bruins leading scorer Patrice Bergeron
, along with defenseman Matt Hunwick, missed practice Monday. Both practiced Tuesday, however, and coach Claude Julien expects them to play Wednesday. With Ohlund's return to the lineup Monday, the Lightning have a fully healthy squad.
Stat pack --
Boston has 5 power-play goals in 15 tries in their last four games -- all with Marc Savard
in the lineup. In the 15 games Savard missed, the Bruins had 5 power-play goals in 44 tries.
Puck drop --
After winning three of four on the road, Tampa has lost three of its last four away from home. But after starting November three points behind Southeast Division-leading Washington, they ended the month 10 points back. A win here is crucial.
Boston also could use some momentum carried over into December after a strong November that saw them climb from ninth to sixth in the Eastern Conference, and to within one point of Northeast Division-leading Buffalo.
Contact Adam Kimelman at: email@example.com.