Oct 3, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins center Gregory Campbell (11) battles with Tampa Bay Lightning center Valtteri Filppula (51) for control of the puck during the first period at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins

Tonight, our Tampa Bay Lightning looks to win the fifth game in their 7-game home stand when they come face-to-face with their Atlantic Division rivals, the Boston Bruins.

The Lightning may have dropped the Season Opener to the Bruins on October 3rd, but the game was far from a blowout.

A young team with many new players brought up from the AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch, still getting adjusted to life in the National Hockey League, was able to hold one of the best teams in the league to no more than one goal per period.

However, the Lightning is very much a different team now than they were just a few weeks ago. The Bolts have won four of their last 5 games. Goaltender Ben Bishop is now 5-0 in his 5 appearances so far this season with a GAA of 1.57 and a Save Percentage of .943. It was assumed at the beginning of the season that Bishop would be sharing goaltending duties with Anders Lindback, but let’s be honest here for a minute, when someone is on this kind of hot streak, why mess with a good thing?

Right now, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is just one spot higher in the NHL ranking for GAA with 1.51. He is currently 4-2 in his 6 appearances with a Save Percentage of .947.

The Lightning will need to keep their eyes on Bruins left wing Milan Lucic. He currently leads the Bruins in goals and points with 3 and 5 respectively. David Krejci will be another one to watch. He currently leads the Bruins in assists with 5, tying Lucic for the points lead.

Center Steven Stamkos and Captain Martin St. Louis lead the Lightning in points with 10, tying them with 4 other players for 3rd place in the NHL in points.

When it comes to the tale of the tape, these two teams are almost evenly matched. The Bruins have a slight advantage, but nothing to write home about.

The Bruins have the lead when it comes to Shots on Goal per game. The Bruins average 34.5 where the Lightning average 26.29. However, it is the Lightning that holds the advantage in Goals per Game. The Bolts average approximately 3.57 goals per game, whereas the Bruins average about 2.5.

The Lightning holds the advantage on the Power Play with a percentage of 24.1% to the Bruins’ 13.6%. Both the Lightning and the Bruins have been strong on the Penalty Kill this season. Boston is at 87.5% on the penalty kill. Tampa Bay is at 75.9%.

This is definitely going to be the game to watch tonight. Both teams have a history with each other, and they are always well fought and hard hitting games. Thankfully, this year the Lightning has some backup in the hitting department. Radko Gudas has been a beast on the ice so far this season. His big hits, while legit, have drawn the ire of opposing players.

Also, having someone like the 6’8” Andrej Sustr on the defensive line will give the Bolts the reach they need to combat the likes of Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.

The puck drops tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. For all the information on where to watch/listen to the game you can click here.

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Tags: Boston Bruins NHL Tampa Bay Lightning

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