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Bruins-Lightning Preview @NHLdotcom
Bruins-Lightning Preview

GAME: Boston Bruins (13-18-6) at Tampa Bay Lightning (19-16-3).

TIME: Friday, 7:30 p.m. EST.

Although Sean Burke is playing for his seventh team during a 17-year career, Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella sounds ready to hand him the No. 1 goaltending job for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Burke will try to help the Lightning win for only the second time in seven games as they face the Boston Bruins.

Tampa Bay outshot Montreal 44-24 on Wednesday, but lost 4-3 when John Grahame allowed a bad-angle goal by Pierre Dagenais with 11:26 remaining.

Tortorella was not bashful about pinning his team's fifth loss in six games on Grahame.

"Eighteen scoring chances to 10, we can't have four goals in our net on 10 chances," said Tortorella, who pounded the podium with his hand several times during his postgame news conference. "Especially the fourth goal, it can't happen. I'm ... at what's happening there because I thought our team played very well tonight. And this has gone on for quite a while."

Tortorella said Burke will start Friday.

"Burke is going in the next game and I hope he plays well. If he plays well, he is going to go again. This is what we have. This is what we have. And I'm not up here trying to rip anybody apart, but let's be honest about what's going on here. It's getting old. We're going nowhere until that situation is straightened out."

Burke, however, has not played particularly well lately. He allowed six goals on 30 shots in a 6-4 loss at Carolina on Dec. 20 and has surrendered 13 goals in his past three starts.

Lightning forward Dave Andreychuk, a former Bruin, played in his 1,634th game Wednesday, leaving him one shy of tying Scott Stevens for fourth place all-time. Andreychuk has 41 goals and 89 points lifetime against Boston.

The Bruins continued their inconsistent play with a 6-4 loss Wednesday to the Florida Panthers.

Boston, which concludes a four-game road trip Friday, has alternated wins and loss in its last seven games.

"I thought we had a great start, but the one area where we need to get better is the next shift after you score is critical," Bruins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We've got to make sure we bear down to maintain the momentum."

Sullivan's team could again be without leading scorer Sergei Samsonov, who sat out Wednesday with an inflamed rib cage.

STANDINGS: Bruins - 32 points, 5th place, 23 PB, Northeast Division. Lightning - 41 points, 2nd place, 9 PB, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Bruins - Samsonov, 15 goals and 29 points; Patrice Bergeron, 16 assists; Hal Gill, 54 PIM. Lightning - Fredrik Modin, 17 goals; Brad Richards, 29 assists; Vaclav Prospal, 43 points; Pavel Kubina, 56 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Bruins - Power play: 16.7 percent (35 for 210), 17th in NHL. Penalty killing: 82.8 percent (192 for 232), 12th (tied). Lightning - Power play: 14.9 percent (35 for 235), 24th (tied). Penalty killing: 80.9 percent (157 for 194), 22nd (tied).

GOALTENDERS: Bruins - Andrew Raycroft (5-14-2, 0 SO, 3.44 GAA); Hannu Toivonen (8-4-4, 1 2.87) Lightning - Grahame (15-13-1, 1, 2.94); Burke (4-2-2, 2.99).

SEASON SERIES: Bruins, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 10; Bruins, 4-2. At Tampa, Fla., Brian Leetch scored his first goal for Boston, and P.J. Axelsson had a goal and an assist.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Bruins - 7-12-4 on the road; Lightning - 11-8-1 at home.

Associated Press

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