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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Lightning

Boston can clinch postseason berth with regulation victory

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BostonBruins.com - The Bruins will be looking to extend their season-high five-game winning streak on Tuesday night when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden. Boston has not won six in a row since March 2014.

The matchup is crucial to Boston's postseason hopes. With a regulation victory, the Bruins can clinch a spot in the playoffs for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

Tampa Bay currently sits four points behind the Bruins in the Atlantic Division standings, with a game in hand. A regulation win for Boston would push the Black & Gold six points ahead, with the Lightning having just three games remaining.

If Tampa Bay were to win all three contests and Boston lose their final two games, the teams would both finish with 94 points, but the Bruins would secure the postseason berth because they hold the ROW tiebreaker (regulation and overtime victories). Boston currently has 41 ROWs, compared to Tampa Bay's 35.

Tuesday night's matchup is the fifth and final meeting of the season between the two teams, with Boston holding a 3-1 edge in the season series. Tampa Bay defeated the Bruins, 6-3, at TD Garden on March 23, behind a Nikita Kucherov hat trick.

Opposing View: Tampa Bay Lightning

Tampa Bay has collected points in six straight games, one game shy of a season high, and has won five straight on the road. The Lightning are coming off a 6-3 win over Dallas on Sunday and are 5-0-1 over their last six games.

After missing 61 games since Nov. 15 with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, Steven Stamkos has returned to practice with the team and is nearing a return. A decision on his status for Tuesday's game with the Bruins has not yet been made.

Ryan Callahan is out indefinitely after right hip surgery, while Jason Garrison (lower-body) and Cedric Paquette (lower-body) are considered day-to-day.

Ondrej Palat has points in 11 of his last 13 games (four goals, 13 assists). Since March 3, he is third in the NHL with 13 assists and fourth with 17 points.

Kucherov is tied for third in the NHL with 38 goals and tied for first with 17 power-play tallies. He is sixth in the league in scoring (81 points). Victor Hedman is third among defensemen with 67 points and leads the league with 28 power-play assists.

Hedman and Kucherov are tied for second in the league with 32 power-play points apiece.

The Lightning have the league's fourth-best power play (23.1%) and 12th-best penalty kill (81.1%). Tampa is 13th in the league in scoring (2.79 goal per game) and 16th in goals against (2.76).

Wait, There's More

  • There has been a scoring change on Boston's first goal against Chicago. It was originally credited to Ryan Spooner, but was changed following a review and awarded to Zdeno Chara. The assists were awarded to Brandon Carlo and Sean Kuraly, who was recalled on an emergency basis before the game. The helper was Kuraly's first NHL point.
  • The Bruins' special teams have been buzzing during their five-game win streak. Over that span, the penalty kill is 18 for 19 (94.7%), while the power play is 3 for 8 over the last three games.
  • Boston is 59-24-9-1 against the Lightning all-time, with a 34-7-6-0 mark against the Bolts at home.
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