Boston Bruins vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: Battle of 2 Division Leaders

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Though the Boston Bruins may end up needing snowmobiles or a  team of huskies to get to TD Garden this evening, they will take on another division leader, the Tampa Bay Lightning, once they get there.

The winter storm Nemo has hit Boston pretty hard, smacking the city with hurricane-force winds and more than two feet of snow. Today, the skies are starting to clear up and people are starting to dig out their walks and driveways, but there are still some issues that may force fans to stay home and watch the game on NESN, provided they have power.

The travel ban imposed by Gov. Deval Patrick yesterday–which Tyler Seguin described using a hateful slur on his Twitter feed in quite the lapse of judgment–is still in effect, so people can’t be out on the roads for nonessential purposes. However, the governor may choose to re-evaluate and possibly lift the ban later today. The MBTA mass transit system won’t be able to restore service today, so people can’t get to the game on the T.

Here’s a fun fact: the city is planning to plow up snow (someone call Mr. Plow!) and then put the snow in “snow farms” around town instead of dumping the white stuff into the ocean, which could just make the choppy sea levels rise and create possible flooding issues. People have also been seen snowboarding and skiing in Boston Common.

But the Lightning players got into town ahead of the storm, before more than 20 inches of snow got dumped on Logan International Airport, so the gang’s all here and ready to play this evening, even if the crowd is quite sparse.

This game is a showdown between two teams that lead their divisions right now. Boston has a 7-1-1 record and 15 points while Tampa Bay holds a 6-4-0 record and 12 points. The Lightning’s power play is a thing of envy with a conversion rate of nearly 30 percent, but the Bruins kill penalties with the most accuracy of any Eastern team (92.3 percent). It’s a folly at this point to speak of the Bruins’ dismal power play except maybe to say that if they see Tampa Bay’s, they can take notes.

The Lightning, though, have hit a skid and lost their three most recent games while the Bruins have two wins in a row.

Could the Bruins try to roll the lines that were seen at practice yesterday, especially the one that has Seguin in with Milan Lucic and David Krejci? That line was responsible for both goals in Boston’s most recent 2-1 win, but coach Claude Julien said that he wasn’t 100 percent sure about the lines yet.

A lot of it depends on who’s going to return from their sick bay. If Brad Marchand is ready to roll, then Julien may reunite him with Seguin and Patrice Bergeron. Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille are also question marks as well right now, but as the old saying goes, questions will become answers and one or both of them could be in the lineup too.

Tuukka Rask‘s record against the Lightning leaves something to be desired, but consider the fact that he just hasn’t played that many games against Tampa Bay, too. I think he will be in net tonight, even if the appreciative hoots of “Tuuk!” from the crowds don’t sound as loud this evening.

 

Emma Harger is a Boston Bruins and NHL writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter, like her on Facebook and add her to your network on Google.

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