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Lightning at Bruins preview

Backes, Marchand return from injuries for Boston; Tampa Bay tries to stay atop NHL standings

by Matt Kalman / Correspondent

LIGHTNING (17-5-2) at BRUINS (10-8-4)

7:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN , NHL.TV


The Game

Forwards David Backes and Brad Marchand will return from injury for the Boston Bruins against the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Wednesday.

Backes missed 12 games after surgery to remove a portion of his colon because of diverticulitis. Marchand missed the past six games with an undisclosed injury but is still second on the Bruins with 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 14 games. Goaltender Tuukka Rask will start for the second straight game for the Bruins, who have won four of their past five but lost 4-2 to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.

The Lightning continued their franchise-best start with a 2-0 win at the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, ending a two-game losing streak. They lead the NHL with 36 points.


Players to watch

Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov had an assist against Buffalo and has had at least one point in 19 of Tampa Bay's 24 games. He's second in the NHL in points (35) to teammate Steven Stamkos (36).

Bruins forward David Pastrnak has two goals and one assist during a three-game point streak after going four games without a point. He leads Boston with 20 points (12 goals, eight assists).


They said it

"The way he's been playing at the end of last year and the beginning of this season, it's been remarkable, and he's established himself as one of the best goalies in this league, I think." -- Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman on goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy

"We've got to get Tuukka's game where he's getting with it and playing, so then the best way to do that is getting starts." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on goalie Tuukka Rask, who's starting for the second straight game after four games backing up Anton Khudobin


Lightning projected lineup

Vladislav Namestnikov -- Steven Stamkos -- Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Yanni Gourde

Alex Killorn -- Tyler Johnson -- Ryan Callahan

Chris Kunitz -- Cedric Paquette -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Andrej Sustr

Mikhail Sergachev -- Anton Stralman

Dan Girardi -- Braydon Coburn

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Peter Budaj

Scratched: Slater Koekkoek

Injured: Jake Dotchin (undisclosed)


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Danton Heinen -- Riley Nash -- David Backes

Frank Vatrano -- Ryan Spooner -- Noel Acciari

Tim Schaller -- Sean Kuraly -- Matt Beleskey

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- Brandon Carlo

Matt Grzelcyk -- Kevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Paul Postma

Injured: Adam McQuaid (broken fibula), Anders Bjork (undisclosed), David Krejci (upper body), Jake DeBrusk (upper body), Peter Cehlarik (lower body)


Status report

The Lightning did not hold a morning skate. ... Vasilevskiy might start again despite making 34 saves Tuesday because Tampa Bay doesn't play again until Saturday. Brown missed his third straight game Tuesday so the Lightning dressed seven defensemen. ... Krejci is out after playing five games because he aggravated an injury that kept him out of 11 straight games.


Stat pack

The Lightning have scored at least one power-play goal in four straight games and in nine of their past 10. ... Backes is one point from 500 for his NHL career. The Bruins were 4-1-0 vs. Tampa Bay last season.

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