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GAME: Boston Bruins (1-2-0) at Tampa Bay Lightning (2-1-0).

TIME: Monday, 7:30 p.m. EDT.

While the Tampa Bay Lightning have gotten off to a good start and sit tied atop the Southeast Division, they realize it will not be easy to defend their championship.

The Lightning continue an early homestand and face one of the Eastern Conference's tougher teams Monday when they take on the Boston Bruins.

The Bolts are coming off a home-and-home split with the Florida Panthers. After a 2-0 loss Friday at Sunrise, Fla., Tampa Bay bounced back Saturday night with a 2-1 win.

Martin St. Louis - the 2003-04 scoring champion - had a goal for his first point of the season. New starting goaltender John Grahame made 28 saves in the win.

"I think everybody came out and did a tremendous job," Grahame said. "It's going to be a battle every night and we have to be ready for that."

With Nikolai Khabibulin having signed as a free agent with Chicago, Grahame - a former Bruin - has stepped up so far with a 1.35 goals-against average and a .953 save percentage.

Boston avoided its third loss to start the season with a thrilling 7-6 overtime victory Saturday against Pittsburgh.

Trailing 6-4 at the start of the third period, Glen Murray and Brad Boyes each scored to send the game into the extra period. Murray tallied the game-winner 83 seconds into overtime.

"We have confidence in ourselves to go out and score goals," Murray said. "You can be down a couple of goals now and still be in the game."

Murray, who leads the Bruins in scoring so far, has enjoyed success against Tampa Bay during his 14-year career. In 31 games versus the Bolts, Murray has 13 goals - including three game-winners - and eight assists.

STANDINGS (through Oct. 8): Bruins - 2 points, 4th place, 4 PB, Northeast Division. Lightning - 4 points, Tied for 1st place, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Murray, 3 goals and 5 points; Joe Thornton, 4 assists; Jiri Slegr, 8 PIM. Lightning - Seven players tied with 1 goal; Dave Andreychuk, 3 assists; Vaclav Prospal and Andreychuk, 3 points; Five players tied with 4 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Oct. 8): Bruins - Power play: 11.8 percent (2 for 17), Tied for 22nd. Penalty killing: 76.2 percent (16 for 21), 7th. Lightning - Power play: 9.1 percent (2 for 22), 25th. Penalty killing: 94.4 percent (17 for 18), Tied for 27th.

GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Andrew Raycroft (0-2-0, 0 SO, 3.03 GAA); Hannu Toivonen (1-0-0, 0, 6.00). Lightning - Grahame (2-1-0, 0, 1.35); Sean Burke (no record).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 2-1-1.

LAST MEETING: March 20, 2004; Bruins, 5-4. At Boston, the Bruins overcame three first-period goals by the Lightning to get the home victory.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 1-1-0 on the road; Lightning - 2-0-0 at home.

Associated Press

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