Lightning-Bruins Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 27, 2012
Ten months ago, the Boston Bruins prevented the Tampa Bay Lightning from reaching the Stanley Cup finals. Now Boston has a chance to all but extinguish the Lightning's slim hopes of getting back to the playoffs. The Bruins look to pad their lead in the Northeast Division by continuing their home dominance of Tampa Bay in the conclusion of this season series Tuesday night. The Bruins (44-28-3) went on to win the Stanley Cup after ousting the Lightning (35-33-7) with a 1-0 home victory in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals. Boston should get the opportunity to defend that title, leading the Northeast by three points over Ottawa with two games in hand on the Senators. Tampa Bay is unlikely to join the Bruins in the postseason. The East's 11th-place club trails Washington and Buffalo by seven points, with the Capitals and Sabres set to break their eighth-place tie with a matchup Tuesday. The Lightning, however, are showing they're not ready to give up, winning their third straight with a 5-3 victory at playoff-bound Philadelphia on Monday. "We're kind of hanging on right now," said center Steven Stamkos, who set a team record with his NHL-leading 53rd goal Monday. "There's a lot of character in this room, and on this team, and it's showing. When you play well, and take advantage of your opportunities, you end up getting some timely goals, and that's what you're seeing. There's a lot of pride in this room. "In this position, you always have to just keep playing. You never know what can happen, and we still have a chance. Until we don't have one, we have to play like we do, and it's working out for now." Things don't tend to work out for the Lightning when visiting Boston. The Bruins are 29-5-0 with six ties all-time at home against Tampa Bay, including a 3-1 record in last season's East finals. They won 4-1 in the most recent meeting there Oct. 8, but dropped the next two in Tampa - including a 6-1 defeat March 13. They've regained some momentum by winning four of five overall behind stunning production from 39-year-old Brian Rolston and linemates Chris Kelly and Benoit Pouliot. The trio had two points each to power Sunday's 3-2 victory over Anaheim, which capped a 2-1-0 California trip. Kelly has three goals and four assists in the past five games, while Pouliot has four and seven, respectively, over nine contests. It's the play of Rolston, however, that might be the most surprising. The veteran has three goals and eight assists during a six-game scoring streak, giving him 12 points in 15 games with the Bruins. He had just nine in 49 contests with the New York Islanders before being dealt to Boston last month. "He's always been a good skater," coach Claude Julien said. "He doesn't look his age. He certainly doesn't play his age. He has good speed and a great shot." That's been on display against the Lightning throughout his 17-season career with 45 points in 59 games, although he's managed just one in the past six. Tampa Bay will try to build on its own momentum by winning at TD Garden in the regular season for the first time since March 25, 2010. Stamkos has 10 goals and 10 assists in 22 meetings with the Bruins, getting seven points in 11 visits to Boston. He's a minus-8 there, though, and has been held without a point seven times - the Lightning are 1-6-0 when that happens. Martin St. Louis has four points in his last two games overall, and he scored on former University of Vermont teammate Tim Thomas in the latest road meeting with the Bruins.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Russell Westbrook posterizes DeMarcus Cousins to seal win

Tampa Bay Lightning trade star goaltender Ben Bishop to the LA Kings in surprise deal

Divac makes bold promise after trading DeMarcus Cousins

Popovich praises Magic, wishes him well with Lakers

Report: Andrew Bogut likely to join Cavs after buyout

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Broncos expected to 'at least discuss' Romo

Report: Raiders don't expect to keep Latavius Murray

Report: Josh Hamilton needs another knee operation

Ball's father says comment about Lakers was misquoted

Revis hints he is open to taking significant pay cut

Several NBA executives have concerns about Lonzo Ball’s father

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Box Score 2/24: A night of NBA disrespect

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Top 10 shortstops in baseball for 2017

The most dangerous NBA teams flying under the radar

Eat, Drink, Watch: Your award-worthy weekend planning guide

Grading the NBA trade deadline on the Vince Carter scale

Streaming sports docuseries you don't want to miss

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

The 'Pete Rose instead of Kareem? Surely, you can't be serious' quiz

Teams that can prevent a Cavs-Warriors NBA Finals three-peat

The NFL off-season is a passer’s fancy

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher who has recorded 10 or more shutouts in a single season

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker