Lightning-Bruins Preview

Throughout their history, the Tampa Bay Lightning have rarely

picked up points in Boston.

The last time they visited, they didn’t even have a chance.

After the Lightning witnessed a New England blizzard last month,

they expect to get a game in – and hope to snap a disheartening

three-game losing streak – when they face the red-hot Bruins on

Saturday.

Including the 2011 Eastern Conference finals, Tampa Bay has

dropped five straight in Boston to remain stuck on five wins in 41

all-time games there.

The Lightning arrived for their road matchup with the Bruins on

Feb. 9, but that game was postponed to April 25 due to a massive

storm that dumped as much as three feet of snow on parts of

Massachusetts.

That’s one reason Boston (13-2-2) has played fewer games than

any other NHL team, but the Bruins are set to begin a busy March

that includes 17 games. They’re rolling into the month on a

five-game winning streak after Patrice Bergeron’s overtime goal

secured a 2-1 win over Ottawa on Thursday.

The team didn’t seem thrilled with its play even though it had a

season-high 46 shots.

“We know we’re a better team, we know we can play better,” coach

Claude Julien told the Bruins’ official website. “I’m certainly not

criticizing our team for how they played because they still battled

through. We didn’t have our legs, so it’s not because they didn’t

want to, but certainly Saturday’s game I’m looking for our team to

be better and hopefully we’ll have gotten into our groove at

home.”

The Bruins are 5-1-1 at home despite going 0 for 26 on the power

play.

Their current overall run includes last Thursday’s 4-2 win at

Tampa Bay. Boston didn’t have one power play in that contest, but

its league-best penalty kill snuffed out three Lightning

opportunities and Nathan Horton scored twice at even strength.

“That’s what we’ve got to aim for, beat that kind of team,”

Lightning coach Guy Boucher said that night.

Tampa Bay (9-10-1) is desperate for a win against anybody

following three consecutive regulation defeats. Multiple Lightning

players called Thursday’s 4-1 road loss to the New York Rangers

“embarrassing” after the team was outshot 35-11 in the first two

periods.

“I don’t really know what to say,” said star forward Steven

Stamkos, who had a six-game goal streak snapped. “Guys aren’t

competing hard enough, and they wanted it more than us.

“It’s getting to a point where it’s embarrassing. We talk about

work ethic, but it’s not there right now.”

The Lightning are 3-9-1 since their promising 6-1-0 start, and

they’re 3-6-0 on the road following the first stop on a challenging

trip that continues in Pittsburgh and New Jersey next week.

They may catch somewhat of a break Saturday if the Bruins opt to

start Anton Khudobin in net. Tuukka Rask has played throughout

Boston’s win streak, posting a 1.38 goals-against average, but he

could get a rest with an eye toward Sunday night’s matchup with

archrival Montreal.

Khudobin has made eight NHL starts and has never played in a

home game for the Bruins.

Goaltending continues to be a problem for the Lightning. Anders

Lindback gave up four goals on 26 shots against Boston last week

and has not played since being pulled after one period of Sunday’s

5-3 loss at Pittsburgh.

His 3.27 GAA ranks among the worst in the NHL, but Mathieu Garon

hasn’t been any better at 3.31 while losing five of his last six

starts.