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Eastern Conference champs host Lightning in opener

by Staff /

LIGHTNING (0-0-0) at BRUINS (0-0-0)


Season series: The Boston Bruins won all three matchups last season as Tuukka Rask was 2-0-0 with a .964 save percentage and a shutout in two starts. Teddy Purcell had four assists and Steven Stamkos had two goals in the three games for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Big story: After losing one future Hall of Famer in the offseason (Jaromir Jagr), the Bruins begin title defense of their Eastern Conference championship with another one, Jarome Iginla, still looking for his first Stanley Cup. The Lightning are coming off their second straight season without a trip to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and have missed the postseason in five of the past six seasons.

Team Scope:

Lightning: They finished 14th in the Eastern Conference last season, which enabled them to draft one of the top forwards in Jonathan Drouin. But in something of a surprise, Drouin didn't make the final roster and was returned to Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

"We can second-guess all day long, but to me there's nothing wrong with going somewhere that you’re going to get the chance to play in all situations and play every night instead of sitting in a situation where you're not," coach Jon Cooper told the team's website.

Eight members of the Lightning who made the opening-night roster spent some time in the American Hockey League last season. This will also be the first game for the Lightning since 1997 without Vincent Lecavalier on the roster; he was bought out at season's end and signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Bruins: It was a busy offseason for the Bruins, who lost Jagr and Nathan Horton to free agency and Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley via trade to the Dallas Stars. The latter three all finished among the Bruins' top eight scorers last season. In came Iginla and Loui Eriksson.

While preseason games don't count in the standings, the Bruins were a very impressive 6-1-0, and named Chad Johnson the backup goalie to Rask.

"I think we're still a great team and have a lot of potential," center Patrice Bergeron told the team's website. "It's a long season like we all know and we have to make sure we do the right thing. It's so cliché but it's still the same thing again, you have to start all the way back down the mountain and climb our way back up, so that's the way we have to look at it.

"Don't look too far ahead, but I think we have a great team; now, we have to do the job on the ice."

Injury report: Lightning forward Ryan Malone (upper body) is probable. … The Bruins list centers Gregory Campbell (leg) and David Krejci (back spasms) as probable.

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