The Boston Bruins couldn’t have asked for a much better start to their 2019-20 campaign. Bruce Cassidy’s squad sits in first place in the Atlantic Division following with a 5-1 record.
Now they face their first big test this season as they welcome last year’s Presidents’ Trophy winners, the Tampa Bay Lightning, to TD Garden.
“Well definitely a measuring stick game for us,” Cassidy said following Wednesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena. “Every time we play them, we want to be at our best because they’ve been at the top of the division for years. We look at it as certainly a bigger challenge than a lot of other nights.”
We’re just a couple of weeks into the new season. Every team will most certainly evolve between now and April. But the Bruins look to use Thursday’s matchup with the Lightning as a measuring stick tilt against one of the Eastern Conference elites.
The red-hot Bruins captured 10 out of possible 12 points to start the season. Their lone blemish came during a tightly contested bouted in Colorado on the last leg of their season-opening four-game road trip.
Cassidy’s side has been eager at practice this week to put themselves to the test once again.
“I think we both want to line up, go punch for punch and see where we are standing at the end of the night,” Torey Krug said about Tampa Bay.
The Bruins, without David Krejci’s services, will have their hands full trying to slow down Tampa Bay’s offensive firepower led by reigning Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov, team captain Steven Stamkos, and the dynamic Brayden Point. But Boston’s defensive depth and stellar goaltending performances from Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak shined bright against potent offensive clubs like the Stars, Golden Knights and even the Avalanche in the early going.
Thursday night is more than just a hockey game. It’s an early opportunity to make a statement.
The “Big Bad Bruins” hope to send a message with an early victory. But, to paraphrase College GameDay’s own Lee Corso, the Lightning hope to utter his patent “Not so fast!” quote with a win over the defending Eastern Conference champs.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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