NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 8th (All times Eastern)
Boston Bruins (40-17-5) at Tampa Bay Lightning (34-24-5), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Boston Bruins try to match their longest winning streak of the season on Saturday night when they visit a fellow Atlantic Division resident in the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Bruins have won three in a row and are aiming to record their fifth four- game win streak of the season and first since Jan. 20-28.
Boston's 6-1-2 mark over its last nine games has helped to push its lead in the Atlantic Division to eight points over the Montreal Canadiens.
The Bruins are coming off a 3-0 decision over the Washington Capitals on Thursday, with Tuukka Rask needing to stop just 16 shots to post his NHL- leading sixth shutout of the season.
Rask's 22nd career shutout came in a game in which the Bruins did not commit a single penalty. Washington also was not whistled for an infraction in the game.
"We had layers of coverage all over the ice, backchecked hard, had all of the elements we want to have to get a win. It was great to see that," said Rask in praise of his teammates for helping the cause.
Gregory Campbell, Loui Eriksson and Brad Marchand tallied for the Bruins, who began a three-game road trip that continues on Sunday versus the Florida Panthers.
Rask and Chad Johnson may split the starts this weekend. Rask is 6-2-0 with a 1.89 goals against average and three shutouts in eight lifetime starts versus the Lightning, while Chad Johnson has never faced them.
The Bruins have won seven in a row versus the Lightning, including back-to- back shutout victories. They notched a 5-0 triumph in their first trip to Tampa this season on Oct. 19, with Rask notching a 23-save shutout.
The Lightning sit fourth overall in the division, falling a point back of the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place thanks to a 3-1 setback to the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday.
It marked the return to action for Tampa Bay winger Steven Stamkos as well as the Lightning debut for Ryan Callahan, acquired from the New York Rangers on Wednesday for former Bolts captain Martin St. Louis.
Stamkos, named the Lightning's 10th captain in team history before the game, had missed the previous 45 games with a broken right tibia. He suffered the injury in a game at Boston on Nov. 11.
"For the most part I felt good," said Stamkos, who had five shots in just over 21 minutes of ice time. "It's a step in the right direction. You can feel it a little out there as the play progresses."
Callahan had four shots and four hits in 16 minutes and 33 seconds of work, skating on a line with Valtteri Filppula and Nikita Kucherov.
Tyler Johnson supplied a late short-handed goal and backup Anders Lindback yielded three goals on 21 shots in his first game since Jan. 30. However, the Lightning lost their third straight and for the sixth time in their past eight games.
Tampa Bay dropped the opener of a six-game homestand and is likely to start No. 1 Ben Bishop in net this evening. He has lost both of his previous outings versus the Bruins, though, posting a 4.50 GAA.
03/08 11:08:48 ET