The Bruins will be in Tampa for the final match of the season vs the Lightning.
When last we left our intrepid heroes,…
the Bruins faced the felonious filadelphia Flyers. The Flyers struck first, making the most of their opportunities, gaining a lead of 2-0, but there was insufficient quantities of “quit” in the Bruins for that to work, and the Bruins came back, closing the gap, and tying the game with an unlikely 59:57 goal. Unfortunately, that was not enough for the Bruins to seal the deal, and the Bruins gave up a breakaway to Claude Girioux, who performed a shootout rape of backup goaltender Anton Khudobin. Also of note – Brad Marchand was boarded by defenseman Andrew MacDonald, and retaliated, crosschecking him in the face and receiving some time in the box, prompting hockey twitter to explode into orgasmic rage.
The Bruins leaped into the #1 spot in the division on Thursday night, but Tampa Bay had a Friday game against the Rangers, bitch-slapping them 5-1, and jumping to a 1 standings-point & 1 ROW lead over the Bruins. But now the Bruins have reestablished the division lead by 1 point with a game in hand. The Boys in Black have one more game vs Tampa this season. Tampa also plays Nashville on Sunday.
The Bruins remain 2 points behind the league-leading Nashville Predators with even number of games played, and 5 games remaining. Carlie McAvoy has been practicing, and is expected in the lineup today. Rick Nash reportedly still is not skating nor is Sean Kuraly, who also has an upper body injury.
Neither Rick & Riley Nash nor Sean Kuraly or Brandon Carlo traveled with the team.
Carlo reportedly has broken his left fibula (not confirmed), which would seem to finish his hockey until next season. Riley Nash has a head covered in stitches from being hit in the ear with a puck.
We’ve had a rare Rick Nash sighting in Boston!
Rick Nash skated today in BOS — First since 3/19.
— Kevin Paul Dupont (@GlobeKPD) April 3, 2018
On the standings front, the Bruins are currently the #1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference with a 3 point lead over the Lightning and a game in hand. Chances at the Presidents Trophy are effectively gone, as the Nashville Predators have a 3 point lead on the Bruins, though the Bruins also have a game in hand vs them, but the Preds are unlikely to lose 2 of their next 3 games.
We’ve seen the Bruins play the Lightning before, we know what they are about. Both teams are deep and strong in all areas of the game. Good scoring, good goaltending, similar goal differentials. These two teams have been at the top of the league for months. The Lightning will be desperate, since they have lost 4 of their last 5 games and would rather play the 6 seed in the playoffs than meet the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Let’s do some lines.
|Bruins Forward Lines|
|Bruins Defensive pairs|
|Tuukka Rask||(Anton Khudobin)|
Ryan Callahan returned to the lineup. Jake Dotchin has apparently been forgotten about and Adam Erne is out indefinitely. Steven Stamkos is injured (LBI, day-to-day) and will probably not play tonight. Daily Faceoff had some slightly different lines than I guessed at, so I’ve incorporated that into my usual Twitterati-based info.
Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
J.T. Miller — Tyler Johnson — Cory Conacher
Yanni Gourde — Anthony Cirelli — Alex Killorn
Chris Kunitz — Cedric Paquette — Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman — Anton Stralman
Ryan McDonagh — Dan Girardi
Brayden Coburn — Mikhail Sergachev
(H/T Scouting the Refs):
Dan O’Halloran #13
TJ Luxmore #21
Greg Devorski #54
Kory Nagy #97