Tampa Bay Lightning (18-24-4) at Boston Bruins (27-13-5), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The struggling Boston Bruins will try to regroup and move
closer to a third straight Northeast Division title when they host the Tampa
Bay Lightning in Thursday's game at TD Garden.
The Bruins have already clinched a playoff spot, but that fact is not a
testament to the club's recent play, as Boston has dropped five of its last
six games, including Tuesday's 5-2 setback in Philadelphia.
Still, the Bruins enter Thursday tied with Montreal atop the Northeast
standings and they have three games left in the regular season compared to two
for the Canadiens, who play tonight in Winnipeg. The division winner is
assured of the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Boston was dealt a lopsided loss by the Flyers on Tuesday, as Steve Mason
turned away 39 shots to help Philly record the 5-2 win. Wade Redden and David
Krejci both scored for the Bruins, while Anton Khudobin gave up three goals on
17 shots before being pulled in the second period. Tuukka Rask finished the
game in net and gave up two goals on 13 shots.
"It was definitely a step back in our game," said Boston head coach Claude
Julien. "Really poor puck management tonight and door decision making. That to
me is a reflection of guys not being ready to play. They need to take the
accountability of being ready."
Boston is playing two of its final three regular-season games on home ice,
where the club is 15-4-3 this season. Next up for the Bruins is Saturday's
road test against Washington and they'll follow that with a home test the
following day against Ottawa. Sunday's game was originally scheduled for April
15, but was postponed due to the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
The Bruins have taken three straight and seven of the last nine meetings with
the Lightning. Tampa has lost five in a row in Beantown in the regular season
and last won at TD Garden on March 25, 2010.
The Lightning will miss the playoffs for the fifth time in six years, but the
club was able to halt a six-game losing streak in Wednesday's 5-2 rout of the
postseason-bound Toronto Maple Leafs. Radko Gudas scored the difference-maker
early in the third period and Martin St Louis had a hat trick as Tampa Bay
slammed the visiting Maple Leafs.
Steven Stamkos scored one goal and had an assist, while Nate Thompson had two
assists for the Lightning. Ben Bishop stopped 26-of-28 shots faced in the
St Louis, who has recorded seven career three-goal games, also took over the
NHL's scoring race with 58 points -- two more than the injured Sidney Crosby
and his Tampa teammate Stamkos.
"Honestly, I just try to play the right way, finish the year strong and see
where it takes me," St. Louis said.
With 29 goals, Stamkos is also two behind Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the
The Lightning are playing their final road game of the season on Thursday and
are just 6-15-2 as the visiting team in 2013.
Tampa Bay will complete its schedule in Saturday's home test against Florida.
04/25 10:58:26 ET
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