Tampa Bay Lightning Need To Find Aggressiveness, Consistency Against Bruins

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Lightning will need to find some consistency and their inner aggressiveness if they want to emerge victoriously against the Boston Bruins.

The Tampa Bay Lightning had a rather rough night on Friday night as a number of defensive miscues and a slow offensive rush led the Bolts to a 5-3 loss against the Columbus Blue Jackets at the Amalie Arena. Tomorrow afternoon, the Bolts will need to shake off the loss and prepare for a much bigger challenge.

The Tampa Bay Lightning must prepare to take on the “big, bad” Boston Bruins at the TD Garden in Boston. As most Lightning fans know by now, the Lightning does not have a very good record at the TD Garden. The Lightning have only emerged victoriously in two games at the TD Garden in the last three seasons.

When you take into consideration the sheer amount of injuries the Lightning have been dealing with as of late, the Bolts are going to be in for one heck of a challenge in Beantown. On the bright side, the Tampa Bay Lightning have made a name for themselves by overcoming adversity, so if there is any team who can get the job done, it’s the Bolts.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

Now, this is the second time these two teams have met this season. Their first encounter was on November 3rd at the Amalie Arena here in Tampa Bay. As per the norm this season, the team got off to a slow start, but a late rally took the game to an overtime period.

The first encounter between these two teams this season would ultimately be decided by a heart-pounding 10-round shootout. Unfortunately for the Lightning, it would be the Bruins who would emerge victoriously and head home with the two points. On the bright side, the Lightning didn’t walk away empty-handed.

As just about every Tampa Bay Lightning fan knows, the Boston Bruins are a rather physical team, much like the Philadelphia Flyers. When you take into consideration the well-laid history between these two teams, it is bound to be a heated encounter.

This means the Bolts are going to have to come out of the gate strong and not allow the Bruins to dictate the pace of the game at any point. Unfortunately, this is not something the team executed well on Friday night against the Blue Jackets.

As Lightning fans sit on the edge of their seats waiting for the Sunday matinee to get started, let’s take a quick look at how things are shaking out on both sides of the ice.

Tampa Bay Lightning

One of the biggest obstacles the Lightning have been dealing with lately has been the loss of Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman. The impact of the loss on the team was made glaringly clear on Friday night against the Blue Jackets.

Getting someone like Stralman back could prove to be a difference-maker for the Bolts. Fortunately, it looks like it won’t be too much longer before Lightning fan gets their wish and the veteran Swedish defender makes his way back to the ice.

According to Tampa Bay Times Backup Beat Writer Roger Mooney, the current plan is for Anton Stralman to make his return to the ice at some point over the course of the Lightning’s upcoming three-game road trip. The biggest question right now is when? Mooney reports that Stralman has been cleared for contact and the decision hinges on Stralman feels tomorrow before the Bolts take on the Bruins.

As for Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown, there has been no word for the Tampa Bay Lightning as of yet indicating whether or not he will be returning to the lineup against the Boston Bruins. J.T. Brown has been relegated to the sidelines with an Upper-Body Injury ever since his controversial appearance in Nashville against the Predators.

Boston Bruins

It seems as if the Boston Bruins are dealing with quite a few injuries of their own right now. As of this morning, Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara is still considered to be day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

The Boston Bruins are coming into tomorrow afternoon’s encounter on the wings of a three-game losing streak. The Bruins’ troubles started off on November 22nd when the Bruins were bested 4-2 by the St. Louis Blues. Their troubles continued just two days later when they were defeated when the Bruins were beaten 3-1 at the hands of the Ottawa Senators.

This brings us to Friday night when the Bruins were bested 2-1 by the Calgary Flames at the TD Garden. As one would expect, the Bruins are going to be looking to make an impact and wipe some of the egg off their face. Hopefully, it won’t be at the expense of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Fact of the Matter

Despite the unfortunate amount of injuries the team has been dealing with as of late, the Tampa Bay Lightning has all the necessary pieces needed in order to overcome a team like the Bruins. If they didn’t, the team wouldn’t be sitting in third place in the Atlantic Division and sixth place in the Eastern Conference.

As we mentioned previously, if the Tampa Bay Lightning wants to bring home the two points tomorrow afternoon in Boston, they are going to have to come out of the tunnel with a spark in their step and a fire in their souls, ready to take control of the game and continuously dictate the pace of the game.

The Bolts will have to be aggressive, both offensively and defensively, register shots on goal, and resist the urge to overpass the puck. Friday night’s encounter more than adequately revealed what happens when the Lightning falls back on the bad habits of yesteryear. This will need to be avoided at all costs.

If the Lightning can manage to accomplish these simple things, they will put themselves in a rather favorable position to get things back on the right track and kick off their short three-game road trip on a high note.

Next: Lightning’s Third Period Rally Strikes Down Flyers

Unlike a majority of the games this season, tomorrow’s encounter kicks off at 1:00 p.m. in Boston. As usual, Lightning fans can catch all the action of Fox Sports Sun. You can also tune in on 970WFLA and TBL Power Play on iHeartRadio. Need the action on the go? You can catch the action on the Fox Sports Go app as well.

Projected Lines (Subject to Change)

Tampa Bay Lightning

Alex KillornVladislav NamestnikovNikita Kucherov

Brayden PointTyler JohnsonRyan Callahan

Ondrej PalatValtteri FilppulaJonathan Drouin

Cedric PaquetteBrian Boyle

Victor HedmanAndrej Sustr

Nikita NesterovBraydon Coburn

Jason GarrisonSlater Koekkoek

Luke Witkowski

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Boston Bruins

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak

Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Backes

Tim SchallerRiley NashAustin Czarnik

Ryan SpoonerDominic MooreJimmy Hayes

John-Michael LilesBrandon Carlo

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid

Joe MorrowKevan Miller

Tuukka Rask

Anton Khudobin