Boston Bruins at Tampa Bay Lightning
When: 7:30 PM ET, Tuesday, March 3, 2020
Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
Preview for Digital Sports Desk by Gracenote
TAMPA – The Boston Bruins have fully recovered from their swoon in December to solidify the lead in the Atlantic Division and can give themselves more cushion when they visit the second-place Tampa Bay Lightning tonight. The Bruins are 17-5-1 since Jan. 7 and lead the Lightning by seven points in the division after blanking the New York Islanders 4-0 on Saturday with seven points from their defensemen.
“When you play solid defensively, you get more chances offensively not only for us, but for the forwards,” Boston blueliner Torey Krug told reporters Saturday of his team, which leads the league in goals against per game (2.42). “You get the puck in the right spot and you push it up to the forwards, and then you’re able to be the second wave of attack. I think we all just focused on our end of the ice first and we were lucky to contribute on the other end.”
The Bruins have had trouble in the series of late with four straight losses overall and six in a row at Tampa Bay – playoffs included – and will be facing a Lightning team that is second in the league in scoring, but missing a major weapon. Tampa Bay halted a season-high four-game losing streak with a 4-3 victory over Calgary on Saturday, but announced the same day that captain Steven Stamkos (29 goals, 66 points) would be lost 6-to-8 weeks after undergoing core muscle surgery. “On the power play but also 5-on-5, he’s winning so many draws, he’s such a leader for us,” Lightning forward Yanni Gourde told reporters. “It’s going to be tough to replace, but we’re going to have to battle through it. Everybody’s going to have to step their game up.”
TIME: 7:30 p.m. ET. TV: NBC Sports Network, TVA, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet Pacific, Sportsnet East
ABOUT THE BRUINS (41-13-12): Right wing David Pastrnak leads the league with 47 goals and has 10 to go along with 11 assists in 15 games since the All-Star break to lead the team with 91 points – eight more than linemate Brad Marchand. Center Patrice Bergeron stands second on the team with 29 goals and Marchand is next (27) after scoring four times in five contests to help extend his point streak to nine games. Krug boasts six of his 37 assists in the past six games to lead the defense with 45 points and blueliner Charlie McAvoy scored once and set up two others against the Islanders to give him five points in three contests.
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (41-19-5): Tampa Bay had a good day on special teams Saturday with two man-advantage goals after going 3-for-46 in its previous 17 games, but has allowed at least one power-play tally in seven straight games (20-of-30). Reigning Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov continues to record points with a total of 31 (14 goals) while making the scoresheet in the last 19 games he has played and leads the team with 80. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (league-high 33 wins) snapped a three-game losing streak with 18 saves against Calgary and stopped 61-of-66 shots in two wins over Boston earlier this season.
- Tampa Bay LW Alex Killorn increased his career high to 24 goals Saturday and has tied his career best with 47 points (also in 2017-18).
- Boston LW Nick Ritchie has a goal and an assist in three games since being acquired from Anaheim at the trade deadline.
- Lightning F Blake Coleman had an assist on Killorn’s winning goal Saturday for his first point in four games since being acquired from New Jersey.