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Preview: Lightning at Bruins

Boston will clinch playoff berth with regulation win against Tampa Bay

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

LIGHTNING (39-29-10) at BRUINS (43-30-6) 

7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports, NESN, NHL.TV


Lightning team scope

The Tampa Bay Lightning trail the Boston Bruins by four points for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference with one game in hand, but Boston holds the tiebreaker (four more regulation/overtime wins). Forward Steven Stamkos stayed on the ice after practice Tuesday, but will miss his 62nd straight game because of a knee injury. Defenseman Jason Garrison (lower body) and forward J.T. Brown (undisclosed) are also out after sustaining injuries in a 6-3 win against the Dallas Stars on Sunday. "I guess in the end, I can always sit here and say it was a great moral victory, but moral victories don't mean anything if we don't get into the playoffs," said coach Jon Cooper, whose team is 5-0-1 in its past six games. "And you take a step back, if you just stop the season right now and look at what's gone on, you'd marvel at what some of these young guys have meant to our team. But in saying that, everybody gets hurt, all teams get hurt, they go through this at different times of the year. It's been a little bit of a prolonged time but we're going through it at the dig-your-heels-in time of the year. And that's probably why it's getting a little bit more press."


Bruins team scope

The Bruins will clinch a playoff berth for the first time in three seasons with a regulation win. Boston is tied with the Ottawa Senators with 92 points, but is the second wild card in the East because the Senators hold one game in hand. Ottawa hosts the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. The Bruins and Senators trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by one point for second place in the Atlantic. Toronto, which hosts the Washington Capitals on Tuesday, has one game in hand on Boston. "Obviously it's a huge motivation," defenseman Zdeno Chara said. "It's a game that means so much just like obviously every other game but there's a lot more meaning to it when you know you're playing for something like playoffs. ... So we know what's at stake." The Bruins have won five in a row since a 6-3 home loss to the Lightning on March 23. The Bruins led three times in that game. "The outcome is what we need to change," coach Bruce Cassidy said. "We did some things well that day. We got leads, we just couldn't hold them. So I guess the answer is, if we're in that position again we have to be more focused and mindful of holding the lead, playing the right way and working on extending it."


Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Tyler Johnson -- Jonathan Drouin

Adam Erne -- Yanni Gourde -- Vladislav Namestnikov

Greg McKegg -- Gabriel Dumont -- Joel Vermin

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Braydon Coburn -- Anton Stralman

Luke Witkowski -- Andrej Sustr

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Peter Budaj

Scratched: None

Injured: Steven Stamkos (knee), Ryan Callahan (hip), Cedric Paquette (lower body), Jason Garrison (lower body), J.T. Brown (undisclosed)


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Backes

Drew Stafford -- David Krejci -- David Pastrnak

Sean Kuraly -- Ryan Spooner -- Matt Beleskey

Dominic Moore -- Riley Nash -- Noel Acciari

Zdeno Chara -- Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug -- Adam McQuaid

John-Michael Liles -- Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Colin Miller, Joe Morrow

Injured: Jimmy Hayes (lower body), Tim Schaller (lower body), Frank Vatrano (upper body)


Status report

Vermin was recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Monday.


Who's hot

Palat has 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in his past eight games. Kucherov has 18 points (10 goals, eight assists) in his past 12 games. Drouin has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in the past eight games. ... Marchand has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in the past 11 games. Pastrnak has 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in the past 19 games. Bergeron has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in his past 19 games.

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