The Boston Bruins (12-8-0, 24 pts) host the defending, back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at TD Garden (7:05 PM, NESN, BSSUN).
This is the first time that the two Atlantic Division rivals have squared off since the Lightning knocked the Boston Bruins out of the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs with a 3-2 double-overtime win in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. This is also the first time the Bolts have stepped on TD Garden ice since the famous donnybrook between these two bitter rivals in a 5-3 win for the visitors. There was a combined 94 penalty minutes and four fighting majors in what was the Bruins’ last home game before the COVID pause on March 12, 2020.
The Boston Bruins (-115) come into the game as slight favorites. You can also get the B’s -1.5 (+215). The Over/Under is 5.5 with the over at +110 and the under at -130. The read here is that this will be a low-scoring affair and go into overtime. You can bet the game to OT at +275.
Prediction: Lightning 3 Bruins 2 (OT)
Boston Bruins Notes
-Jeremy Swayman will get the nod between the pipes again after a brilliant and career-best 42-save performance in a 2-0 Bruins win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday. That was Swayman’s fourth career shutout.
–Embattled Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk snapped a six-game goalless streak in the win Thursday, netting his fourth goal of the season and what proved to be the game-winner 14:38 into the first period.
– Is Bruins winger David Pastrnak starting to find his groove? Even though Pastrnak had his two-game goal streak snapped on Thursday, he had plenty of chances with five shots on net. That followed a one-goal, nine-shot performance this past Tuesday when he lit the lamp in a 2-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Pastrnak has three goals in his last five games and has 31 shots on net during that span.
-Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy is a game-time decision with a non-COVID illness. In addition to McAvoy, Zboril (lower-body), and Anton Blidh (upper-body) remains out.
Tampa Bay Lightning Notes
-31-year-old Lightning captain Steven Stamkos is having a resurgence this season. He enters tonight’s matchup on a five-game point streak with two goals and five assists during that span. Stamkos leads the Lightning in goals with 11 and in points with 25.
-2018 Norris Trophy winner and 2020 Conn Smythe winner Victor Hedman leads the Bolts in assists with 17 helpers.
-Andrei Vasilevskiy will start for the Bolts and carries an 11-4-3 record with a 2.14 GAA and .926 save percentage into this game.
– Mathieu Joseph (lower-body) 2 Games, Nikita Kucherov (lower-body injury), Brayden Point (upper-body), Gemel Smith (Lower-body), all remain out for the Lightning.
-The Lightning begin a five-game road trip – their longest of the season – tonight and are playing the first game of a back-to-back set that concludes tomorrow in Philadelphia.
Boston Bruins Lines
Taylor Hall-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak
Erik Haula-Charlie Coyle-Craig Smith
Nick Foligno-Trent Frederic-Karson Kuhlman
Jake DeBrusk-Tomas Nosek-Curtis Lazar
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Mike Reilly – Connor Clifton
Derek Forbort – Jack Achan
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat – Steven Stamkos – Alex Barré-Boulet
Alex Killorn – Anthony Cirelli – Gabriel Fortier
Pat Maroon – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Corey Perry
Boris Katchouk – Ross Colton – Taylor Raddysh
Victor Hedman – Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh – Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev – Zach Bogosian