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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, December 28th (All times eastern)

Boston Bruins (19-11-4) at Tampa Bay Lightning (21-10-5), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The surging Tampa Bay Lightning will begin a three-game homestand tonight when they welcome the Boston Bruins for a battle at St. Pete Times Forum.

The Lightning have won two straight and have also gained a point in each of their last eight games (6-0-2). Tampa has also won four in a row on home ice and has a 10-2-2 record as the host heading into the opener of this homestand.

Tampa Bay went past regulation in all three games during a recent road trip. The Lightning lost an overtime decision to the Islanders last Wednesday, but notched a shootout decision the following night against the Rangers.

The Bolts then closed the swing with this past Sunday's overtime victory in Atlanta. Vincent Lecavalier's second goal of the game came 1:13 into the extra session and lifted Tampa to the 3-2 decision at Philips Arena.

"It feels good," Lecavalier said. "Anytime you put it in the back of the net it just kind of boosts your confidence. They weren't the prettiest of goals, but I'll definitely take them."

On a power play in the extra session thanks to a Dustin Byfuglien boarding call late in regulation, Martin St. Louis held the puck at the low right circle and flipped it over to Lecavalier, who chipped it past Ondrej Pavelec for the win.

Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist while Dan Ellis made 26 stops for the Lightning.

The Lightning and Bruins have split a pair of meetings this year, but Boston recorded an 8-1 blowout win when the clubs met last on Dec. 2 in Beantown. David Krejci notched two goals and one assist in the win for Boston and Tim Thomas stopped 37-of-38 shots.

Boston has taken six of 10 overall in this series, but has dropped three of its last four in Tampa.

The Bruins, who are tied with Montreal for the Northeast Division lead, are coming off Monday's shootout victory in Florida and will try to win a third straight game when they continue a five-game road trip tonight.

Blake Wheeler scored the game-winner in the second round of the shootout as Boston nipped the Panthers, 3-2, at BankAtlantic Center.

Krejci notched both regulation goals for the Bruins, who won the opener of the five-game swing and improved to 10-5-1 as the guest this season. Boston had lost three straight and four of its last five road games before Monday's win.

"I think we played a really good game today, the offense got hot at the right time," Krejci said. "That's a positive sign but at the same time we have to keep moving on."

Thomas stopped 32-of-34 shots for the win. Tuukka Rask is expected to get the start in net tonight and the Finn is 1-2-0 with a 4.06 GAA in three career starts against the Lightning.

Boston forward Patrice Bergeron is battling an undisclosed injury and is questionable for tonight's game.

12/28 11:12:42 ET

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