The last time the Bruins landed in sunny Florida to take on the Lightning, Tampa was in midst of a seven-game losing streak, and nearly dead in the water in regards to the National Hockey League playoff picture.
The Lightning went on to beat the Bruins in that contest and then win the following four to get their way back into the playoff picture. Tampa stayed within striking distance after the win streak for a month or so, but a recent slide has all but eliminated the Lightning from postseason contention.
Heading into tonight’s games, the Lightning sit seven points behind the eighth-seeded Capitals. Tampa has 14 games remaining, Washington, 13. It certainly doesn’t help the Lightning that they would need to leap frog the Winnipeg Jets (72 points, 13 games remaining) and the Buffalo Sabres (74 points, 12 games remaining)
“I think everybody knows that if we have an OK game, that’s not going to cut it,” said Lightning forward Ryan Malone. “I think everybody knows to be sharp and ready and we need everybody. Obviously they (Bruins) are a pretty decent team over there so you don’t want to give them any room”
The Bruins haven’t been playing great hockey themselves and also find themselves in a playoff battle, just not as serious as the one the Lightning face.
The B’s lead the Ottawa Senators by just two points in the race for the Northeast Division title, the Bruins do have two games in hand—one of those two is tonight—.
“We need a little urgency here. Not panic, but urgency, we’ve got to try to get some wins here” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien “That’s what you have to do through some injuries and some guys are banged up and still playing right now. Every team is going through the same thing, so we need to make sure we’re ready to play hard and win some games. We want to be able to stay where we are [in the Eastern Conference standings] right now.”
Marty Turco is expected to make his first career start as a Bruin. Turco started the second period of Sunday’s loss to the Penguins after starter Tim Thomas was yanked after a three-goal first period. Turco made 20 saves on 22 shots.
Patrice Bergeron (lower body) and Adam McQuaid (upper body) are both game time decisions. Daniel Pallie (upper body) returns to the lineup tonight after missing the previous five games.