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Thursday, March 25th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (29-32-12) at Boston Bruins (33-27-12), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Boston Bruins have come up with important wins in their last two trips to the ice and the playoff hopefuls will aim for a third straight victory when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at TD Garden.

Boston enters tonight with a hold on the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bruins are three points ahead of ninth-seeded Atlanta, which was handed a 4-0 loss Tuesday night by a visiting Boston club.

The Bruins, who also posted a 2-1 regulation decision over the New York Rangers on Sunday, have won three of their last four games after posting just three victories in their previous eight outings.

Boston went into Tuesday's road test with just a one-point lead over the surging Thrashers, who were riding a four-game winning streak. However, Tuukka Rask made 27 saves to post his fourth shutout of the season in the decisive win at Philips Arena.

Rask's biggest stop came with about three minutes to go in the second period when he turned away Colby Armstrong on a penalty shot to preserve a 2-0 Boston lead.

David Krejci and Milan Lucic each registered a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who swept the four-game season series and have won 10 straight overall against Atlanta.

"It was a big win," Rask said. "They got some chances at the beginning. We settled things down and got the (Krejci) goal and didn't look back."

Boston is now back home in Beantown, where it has struggled to a 15-14-6 record this season. This evening's tilt marks the first of three straight on home ice for the B's.

Tampa Bay, which is eight points behind Boston for a playoff spot, was able to halt a five-game losing streak with Tuesday's overtime win against visiting Carolina. Martin St. Louis scored two goals, including the game-winner 29 seconds into OT, lifting the Bolts to the 3-2 decision at St. Pete Times Forum.

In the extra session, St. Louis gathered a pass from Andrej Meszaros and made a nifty move to get around Carolina defenseman Brett Carson before snapping a shot earmarked for the top left corner of the net.

"Once I got into full stride I was able to get to the middle of the ice, go toward Stammer (Steven Stamkos)," St. Louis said. "Originally I was trying to probably get him the puck and drive. I saw a hole and I took it."

Steve Downie tied the game on the power play, redirecting a Stamkos pass behind Hurricanes goaltender Manny Legace with 6:57 left in regulation.

Antero Niittymaki stopped 27 shots for Tampa Bay, which won for just the third time in its last 15 games.

Tampa has been simply awful on the road this season so the fact that tonight begins a four-game road trip is hardly good news for the Lightning's fading playoff chances. The Bolts are just 10-20-6 as the guest and have dropped six of their last seven road tests.

Boston has taken two of three from the Lightning this season and tonight marks the final meeting between the clubs this year. The Bruins have won five of seven overall in the series and Tampa has dropped three straight and six of its last seven in Boston.

03/25 10:47:46 ET


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