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Bolts look to rewrite history in Boston

Tampa Bay aims to improve on an ugly .154 winning percentage in 52 games in Beantown

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

The city of Boston has not been kind to the Tampa Bay Lightning through the franchise's first 26 seasons of existence, at least in the regular season.

The Lightning have made 52 trips to Boston.

They've left Beantown with just eight wins.

Tampa Bay's .154 win percentage in Boston is tied for their worst against any team in the NHL. The Lightning also own a .154 win percentage in Minnesota, the Bolts winning just two of 13 matchups in the State of Hockey.

But in Boston, the futility has been more sustained over a larger sample of games.

Video: Cirelli | "It's going to be a battle"

Tampa Bay hopes history doesn't repeat itself tonight when they close out a taxing, six-game road trip against the Bruins at TD Garden (7 p.m. puck drop).

"If you don't come ready to play the Boston Bruins, it's going to be a long night for you," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said. "Understanding that this has been a long road trip for us, but we're going home tonight. Let's show up on time here, stay out of the box."

Four of Tampa Bay's eight wins in Boston have come over the last four seasons, including a 6-3 win the last time it played at TD Garden in the final game of the 2018-19 regular season, a victory that gave the Lightning 62 to tie the NHL's regular season record for most wins (also: 1995-96 Detroit).

Part of the formula for Tampa Bay's recent success in Boston comes from getting off to a quick start. Boston tends to punish teams early, which gets their boisterous crowd into the game, making it difficult for teams to fight back. The Lightning can't sit back and work their way into tonight's contest.

They'll have to be ready from the jump.

"We've got to come out flying, be fast, got to be moving our feet and stick to our game plan," Bolts forward Anthony Cirelli said. "They have a good team over there, and we expect a battle. It should be a fun one."

Video: Coburn on Bolts' consistency

The Lightning have emphasized getting more pucks on the net and eliminating penalties in recent practices. Coming into Boston, the Bolts are registering just 25.7 shots per game, the second fewest in the NHL, while also allowing 32.4 shots a contest, third most in the League. And they're spending over nine-and-a-half minutes in the penalty box each game, which has overworked an up-and-down penalty kill to start the season.

Those areas will have to get better if the Lightning have any chance tonight of stringing together back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

"We'll have to come into the game thinking that we have to shoot a lot of pucks and play the right way, put pucks deep and grind these guys to start the game because they're a good grinding team and they have skill as well," Lightning forward Mathieu Joseph said. "They're going to hurt you if you're not playing the right way."

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