What to Watch For: Bruins-Lightning

After an emotional night on Thursday, the Boston Bruins can really start their regular season tonight when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins lost two nights ago to the Philadelphia Flyers, but the night was more about the banner ceremony and the hangover was not surprising. Now they can begin their title defense in relative peace, and they start versus their Eastern Conference Finals opponents.

In the ECC last season, the Lightning took the Bruins seven games before Nathan Horton scored his late goal to put the Bruins over the hump. The Lightning no doubt want revenge against the Bruins, and the Lightning should also be a very competitive team in the East. Here is what to watch for and the expected lines for tonight’s game.

Defense Lagging?

The Bruins defense began to lag about 15 minutes into the first period versus Philadelphia, no doubt fatigue from the already long night. How will the defense perform tonight against a much more prominent offense? Was it the ceremony, or will this defense continue to lag? The challenge against Steven Stamkos, Martin St.Louis and Vincent Lecavalier should be very telling.

Also, will Adam McQuaid play? According to some reports on CSNNE.com it looks like the physical defenseman is a go for tonight. Matt Bartkowski made his season debut in the place of McQuaid on Thursday night.

First Line Needs to be Consistent 

To start out the game on Thursday night, both Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton missed open nets. David Krejci was also robbed by Ilya Bryzgalov late. One way or the other, the top line did not execute when the Bruins needed them most. Not a huge concern, it is one game, but all three of these players are known for falling into lapses, so that is why we have our eyes on them.

Long Time No See

Last season the Bruins went 3-1 against the Lightning before the playoffs, where they went 3-1. Throughout that series the Lightning did do a decent job of stopping the Bruins from breaking out of their zone, and the momentum was very sporadic and short lived. The same team is returning for the most part with each team, so it should be interesting if the Lightning stick with the same approach.

Lines

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Martin St.Louis- Steve Stamkos- Steve Downie

Ryan Malone- Vincent Lecavalier- Teddy Purcell

Brett Connolly- Dominic Moore- Ryan Shannon

Adam Hall- Nate Thompson- Tom Pyatt

Victor Hedman- Eric Brewer

Marc-Andre Bergeron- Pavel Kubina

Brett Clark- Matt Gilroy

Dwayne Roloson

Boston Bruins:

Milan Lucic- David Krejci- Nathan Horton

Brad Marchand- Patrice Bergeron- Rich Peverley

Tyler Seguin- Chris Kelly- Jordan Caron

Daniel Paille- Greg Campbell- Shawn Thornton

Zdeno Chara- Dennis Seidenberg

Johnny Boychuk- Adam McQuaid

Andrew Ference- Joe Corvo

Tim Thomas

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