Bruins-Lightning Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 4:06 p.m. ET

Tampa Bay handled Boston easily just over a week ago to extend what would become a franchise-record winning streak that helped it vault into first place in the Atlantic Division.

After that run came to an emphatic end, the Lightning need to beat their division rivals for the third time this season to prevent the Bruins from catching them.

Boston can claim at least a share of the Atlantic lead by evening the season series with Tampa Bay on Tuesday night.

The Lightning (39-23-4) won nine straight after losing to San Jose on Feb. 16, allowing two goals or fewer seven times to pass Florida for the division lead. The run included a 4-1 win at Boston (37-23-7) on Feb. 28 as Ryan Callahan had two goals and an assist and Steven Stamkos scored on a penalty shot.

Tampa looked out of sorts Monday, though, and was outshot 40-18 in a 4-2 loss at Philadelphia. Ondrej Palat scored on one of the Lightning's three shots in the first period before the Flyers tied it while peppering goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy with 22 shots in the second.

Vasilevskiy finished with 36 saves but allowed the first two goals of the third. The defensive unit was short-handed, as Braydon Coburn sat out the first of at least two with a lower-body injury and Andrej Sustr missed his third straight with an undisclosed ailment.

Slater Koekkoek was called up from the minors and had an assist for his first career point in his eighth NHL game.


"The beauty about this sport is we got a game tomorrow against a divisional opponent and we obviously have to have a bounce back," Stamkos said. "I expect a bounce back from this group."

Tampa has won two of three meetings with Boston and sits one point ahead of both Florida and the Bruins, who beat the Panthers 5-4 on Monday after Lee Stempniak scored in overtime for his first goal since coming over from New Jersey at the trade deadline.

Patrice Bergeron had two goals and has scored in four straight, giving him nine goals and five assists over his last 12. Brad Marchand had two assists for Boston, which began a stretch that has it playing 10 of 13 on the road.

Coach Claude Julien passed Art Ross to become Boston's career leader with 388 regular-season victories as the Bruins improved to 4-0-1 since losing to the Lightning. They've won three straight on the road and are 10-2-0 away from home since Jan. 15.

Julien wasn't in the mood to celebrate, though, after the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead.

"One of the worst periods I've seen in a long time from our hockey club," Julien said of the second. "We got better in the third period, but we had to go to overtime to win. We're not a team that likes to give up that many goals."

Defenseman Kevan Miller scored in the last meeting with Tampa Bay, but he was scratched Monday with an upper-body injury and his status for this contest is uncertain.

Tuukka Rask stopped 47 of the 51 shots he faced against the Panthers and could get a much-deserved night off in this one, especially considering he's posted a 4.55 goals-against average while dropping his last four starts against Tampa.

Jonas Gustavsson, who gave up five goals in a loss to Columbus in his last start Feb. 22, would get the nod if Rask sits.

Ben Bishop will be back in goal for the Lightning. He has a 1.48 GAA while winning his last six starts and made 32 saves in the last win over the Bruins.