Two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference of the NHL are set to square off on Tuesday night in Tampa Bay. The Lightning will welcome the Boston Bruins to town in a game that will have huge playoff implications. Boston enters this contest on top of the Atlantic Division, but the Tampa Bay Lightning will be looking to close the gap.
The Bruins enter the week with 94 points, and they are also trying to win the President’s Trophy for the most points in the NHL. Boston was in the Stanley Cup Finals a season ago, and are looking to return.
Tampa Bay enters the week with 87 points, but they still have time to make up ground. The Lightning suffered a first-round playoff exit a season ago after winning the President’s Cup.
The Boston Bruins are one of the toughest teams to score on in the NHL, and they will use that gameplan on the road in Tampa Bay. Boston is allowing just 2.42 goals per game this season while killing off close to 84 percent of their penalties.
Goaltender Tuukka Rask is known as one of the top goalies in the league, but he has gotten help from Jaroslav Halak. The two goaltenders have combined for seven shutouts this season.
Boston might be averaging just 3.2 goals per game this season, but they are still one of the best scoring teams in the league. David Pastrnak leads the team with 47 goals and 91 points this season, and he is dangerous with the puck.
Brad Marchand paces the team with 56 assists and really gets things going for this team.
The Tampa Bay Lightning have a roster full of offensive weapons, and it has led to over 3.5 goals per game. Tampa Bay has converted over 23 percent of their chances on the power play, and the Bruins will need to be disciplined not to take penalties.
Nikita Kucherov leads the team with 31 goals, 49 assists, and 80 points this season, but he has gotten plenty of help as well.
Even though the Lightning haven’t been as great as the Bruins have on defense, they are still allowing just 2.8 goals per game. Tampa Bay’s penalty kill has been solid as well, killing off 81 percent of their own penalties.
Andrei Vasilevskiy has been solid in net for the Lightning, stopping close to 92 percent of the shots he faces.
The winner of this hockey game will likely be the team that is able to control the tempo of this game. The Boston Bruins want to try to control the puck and win this game on defense, while the Tampa Bay Lightning want to create some space for their playmakers.
Both teams have been trending in the right direction since the All-Star Break, and there is a good chance that this is a Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview in the Eastern Conference.