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Lightning aim for third straight, face Bruins

by Brian Hunter

BRUINS (9-2-2) at LIGHTNING (8-6-1)


Last 10: Boston 7-2-1; Tampa Bay 4-5-1

Season series: First of three meetings. The Bruins and Lightning split their four games last season. Steven Stamkos scored five times against Boston, which was led by Rich Peverley's three goals.

Big story: The Bruins will attempt to slow down the NHL's top-ranked offense. An interesting subplot figures to be the Lightning's power play, fourth in the League with a 25.4 percent success rate, up against the Bruins' penalty kill, which sits at the top of the heap at 94.1 percent.

Team Scope:

Bruins: Games in hand are always an advantage, particularly so in a season where so few games are being played. Boston may be three points behind Montreal in the Northeast Division and tied with Ottawa and Toronto, but the Bruins have played three fewer games than the Canadiens and four less than the Senators and Maple Leafs. They've actually played the fewest games of any NHL team but have taken advantage when they are in action, winning their most recent trip to the ice in Winnipeg on Sunday, 3-2, thanks to a Brad Marchand power-play goal in the opening minute of the third period.

"Obviously, we have to enjoy this," forward Milan Lucic said of the team's swing through the Sunshine State for games against Tampa Bay and Florida. "It's our first true road trip, where we kind of get to spend some time together as a team. But, the main focus is going down there and playing good, hard hockey and hopefully we can get some wins."

Lightning: A streaky start to the season for Tampa Bay has the Lightning once again trending in the right direction. Wins against the Panthers and Maple Leafs have them back in a tie for first in the Southeast after an 0-5-1 stretch undermined much of the good done from having won six of their first seven games. The Lightning average nearly four goals per game this season, and getting that many past Ben Scrivens on Tuesday despite just 19 shots was no small feat after the Leafs goalie pitched back-to-back shutouts. Stamkos had his 10th and Alexander Killorn the second of his career in a 4-2 triumph.

"We're playing more patient," Vincent Lecavalier told the Tampa Bay Times. "We're not running and gunning. We're trying to play defense. That's our goal, so some nights we'll get less shots."

Who's hot: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask is 3-0-1 in his last four starts, giving up just six goals over that span. Marchand has goals in three of the last four games. … Stamkos has three goals in the last two games for the Lightning. Lecavalier has two goals and three assists during a five-game points streak. Benoit Pouliot (2-5-7) and Martin St. Louis (1-5-6) have four-game points streaks active.

Injury report: Boston had a host of players miss practice earlier in the week due to flu-like symptoms, but they all made the trip to Tampa. … Tampa Bay forward Ryan Malone (lower body) is on injured reserve.

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