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.
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.
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
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