The Boston Bruins (20-6-6, 46 points) are on their second four-game losing streak of the season. It is their first three-game regulation losing streak as well after a 3-2 setback last night against the Capitals. Tonight, the Bruins close out an extremely difficult back-to-back set against the Tampa Bay Lightning (15-11-3, 33 points). It is the second meeting of the season between the rivals, who last met at TD Garden on October 17th. The Lightning won that game 4-3 in the shootout.
Puck drop is 7:00 pm on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub. Canadian fans can watch the game on Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Pacific, Sportsnet Ontario and TVA Sports.
The Bruins appeared to build a 2-0 lead last night against the Capitals before a call went against them. Quickly, the Capitals turned that into a 2-1 lead and never looked back. Although it was a tough result, the Bruins held in with one of the best teams in the conference and the league. “Listen, we’re all frustrated, but as a coach you like how the 60 minutes transpired better than some of the other nights,” Bruce Cassidy told the team’s official website.
“We’re in the game, we’re right there. We very easily could have won the game. Two or three things probably changed that. In terms of a 60-minute effort, I think we’re getting close to where we want to be,” Cassidy continued. The Bruins jumped out to what appeared to be a 2-0 lead before an offside challenge negated the second goal. The Capitals would score twice and lead the game 2-1 heading into the third period.
Sean Kuraly tied the tilt, but John Carlson blasted home the game-winner just 1:51 later. “We were right there.,” Cassidy said. “We score and get a break finally. They come down a shift later on a simple D-zone coverage. We don’t sort it out quick enough and bam it’s in the net. After that, now you’re chasing it again.”
The result was frustrating enough. The no goal call just compounded the issues on Wednesday night. “I honestly had no idea until they started talking about it,” Patrice Bergeron said. “Didn’t really get a good look at it, but with all the angles they have and in Toronto, I’m sure they got the right call. Obviously this year it’s one of those where when you come up short every time and it happens 20 seconds after the play it’s tough to swallow.”
“That’s the game nowadays,” Brad Marchand conceded. “It’s frustrating, especially when you play for so long after the play. There’s got to be something implemented where you’re not playing for a minute. It just doesn’t affect the play anymore.”
A Pleasant Surprise
It wasn’t all bad on Wednesday night in Washington. 2011 Stanley Cup Champion and Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas was present for the ceremonial first puck drop. Thomas was joined by Brian Gionta, Krissy Wendell and Neal Henderson. All four will be inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame on Thursday night in Washington.
“It was great to see him,” Bergeron told reporters. “He looked great too, congratulated him on a well-deserved honor. The impact that he’s had for us with the Bruins, but also in that Cup run is something that is going to be remembered for a long, long time.”
Marchand agreed with his center and longtime teammate. “Great to see him. It’s been a while, a lot of good memories with everyone from that group.” Marchand was just breaking into the league when Thomas went on his amazing run during the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
“He competed so hard all the time,” Marchand recalled about his former teammate. “Even in practice if you scored on him, he’d be yelling at ya. I think the first time I scored on him in practice, he started screaming at me. I just shot it at his chest the rest of the year. He’s just a competitive guy and such a good player.”
A Storm Brewing?
The Tampa Bay Lightning have not been the same team since they were punched in the mouth by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the opening round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Lightning have yet to hit stride this season. With just 15 wins in 29 games, the Lightning aren’t just outside of the top three in the Atlantic Division, but also outside of a Wild Card spot. The Lightning are five points behind the Penguins for the second and final Wild Card position.
The good news? The Lightning sit just three points behind the Canadiens for the third seed in the Atlantic Division. They also have three games in hand on Montreal.
There’s more good news for the Lightning too. They have won three in a row at home against the Bruins, and five of the last six overall meetings between the sides. Steven Stamkos has a three-game point streak against the Bruins (3 g, 3 a), while Andrei Vasilevskiy has won his last six starts against the Bruins. That includes three straight playoff victories against the club.
Boston Bruins Lines
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Jake DeBrusk – David Krejci – Anders Bjork
Danton Heinen – Charlie Coyle – David Backes
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug – Brandon Carlo
John Moore – Matt Grzelcyk
Lineup, as always, is subject to change. Par Lindholm will remain a scratch, while Brett Ritchie is expected to join him. Connor Clifton returned to the lineup last night, but Moore is expected to draw back in for the second half of this back-to-back slate. Rask gets the start after Halak played last night in Washington. Karson Kuhlman and Zach Senyshyn remain on IR.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn – Anthony Cirelli – Steven Stamkos
Pat Maroon – Cedric Paquette – Yanni Gourde
Carter Verhaeghe – Mitchell Stephens – Mathieu Joseph
Victor Hedman – Kevin Shattenkirk
Ryan McDonagh – Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev – Jan Rutta
Curtis McElhinney will serve as the backup for the Lightning. The club traded Louis Domingue to the Devils last month. Braydon Coburn is out with a lower-body injury, while Tyler Johnson is week-to-week. Johnson is also out with a lower-body injury.