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Lightning at Bruins preview

Tampa Bay seeks to gain in Atlantic race; Boston can extend lead, reach 100 points

by Matt Kalman / Independent Correspondent

LIGHTNING (42-20-5) at BRUINS (43-13-12)



The Game 

The Boston Bruins will try to stretch their lead in the Atlantic Division and become the first NHL team to reach 100 points when they play the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden on Saturday.

The Bruins, who have outscored opponents 12-5 during their four-game winning streak, have 98 points and lead the Lightning by nine points in the division and the Eastern Conference.

The Lightning, who are 2-5-0 in their past seven games after their team-record 11-game winning streak, need one point to reach 90 for the seventh consecutive season. Tampa Bay is 10 points ahead of the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the division.


Players to watch

Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov has a point in 20 of his past 21 games with 32 points (15 goals, 17 assists) in that span.

Bruins forward Brad Marchand has 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) during an 11-game point streak.


They said it

"Part of the plan is to play 60 minutes against a quality opponent and to not tip toe our way into the game. We got to be ready right from the start."  -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper

"I just expect they'll want to respond. They lost, that's usually what happens when two kind of heavyweights go at it. The team that was on the wrong side of it wants to come back and prove that they're the better team." -- Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy; Boston won 2-1 at Tampa Bay on Tuesday 


Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Blake Coleman -- Anthony Cirelli -- Alex Killorn

Barclay Goodrow -- Mitchell Stephens -- Tyler Johnson

Pat Maroon -- Cedric Paquette -- Yanni Gourde

Victor Hedman -- Erik Cernak 

Mikhail Sergachev -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Braydon Coburn -- Zach Bogosian

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Luke Schenn, Carter Verhaeghe

Injured: Ryan McDonagh (lower body), Jan Rutta (lower body), Steven Stamkos (core muscle injury)


Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Nick Ritchie -- David Krejci -- Ondrej Kase

Sean Kuraly -- Charlie Coyle -- Jake DeBrusk

Joakim Nordstrom -- Par Lindholm -- Chris Wagner

Zdeno Chara -- Charlie McAvoy

Torey Krug -- John Moore

Matt Grzelcyk -- Jeremy Lauzon

Tuukka Rask

Jaroslav Halak

Scratched: Anders Bjork, Anton Blidh, Connor Clifton

Injured: Brandon Carlo (upper body), Kevan Miller (knee)


Status report

McDonagh and Rutta, both defensemen, skated Saturday but will not play. McDonagh will miss his 14th straight game, Rutta will miss his 15th.  … Carlo, a defenseman is out after he was injured in a 2-1 overtime win at the Florida Panthers on Thursday; he's day-to-day. Moore replaces him after not playing the past 10 games. … Lindholm replaces Bjork.


Stat pack

The Lightning have lost their past two road games; the Bruins are 8-1-0 in their past nine home games. … Pastrnak, who is tied with Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals for the NHL goals lead (47), has a four-game point streak (two goals, three assists).

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