The Tampa Bay Lightning finds themselves in a must-win situation as they face the Boston Bruins for the final time in the regular season.
The Tampa Bay Lightning started out with an enormous lead over the Boston Bruins in the battle for supremacy in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference. Slowly, but surely, the Bruins ate away at this lead until finally they were able to overtake the Bolts and claim their spot at the top.
Now, the Lightning finds themselves in a must-win situation as they prepare for their final meeting with the Bruins tonight at the Amalie Arena in Downtown Tampa. The Bruins have had the Lightning’s number all season long, and with a two-point lead over the Bolts, the Lightning must emerge victorious if they have any real hope of regaining the top spot.
Unfortunately for the Lightning, as the Bolts seem to continue to lose players, the Boston Bruins are getting their players back in the lineup. According to Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper, captain Steven Stamkos has officially been ruled out of the lineup tonight. On the other side of the ice, Boston Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy has confirmed defenseman Charlie McAvoy will be rejoining the Bruins lineup tonight in Tampa.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Despite the injuries the Lightning is dealing with right now, there is still a solid opportunity to be had for the Bolts. The Lightning has more than enough talent at the forward position to compensate for the loss of Steven Stamkos. However, there will be a few key things that must happen in order for the Lightning to be victorious.
The most important is for the team to come out strong and be aggressive with the puck. There is no realm in which the Lightning should give the Bruins the chance to pull ahead early in the game. This is not the point in the season where the Bolts should spend the second and third periods chasing. Putting the pressure on early and consistently will be one of the biggest keys to victory tonight.
Another key to a Lightning victory tonight is for the team to stand their ground. There is simply no two ways about it, tonight’s game is going to be a physical one. The last meeting between these two teams proved this beyond the shadow of a doubt. The Bolts simply cannot give the Bruins an inch in this department. If they do, the Bruins are going to turn the said inch into a mile and turn the Lightning’s system against them.
One of the final, and potentially most important, key to a Lightning victory tonight will be consistency. If the Lightning is able to get off to a solid start against the Bruins, the Bolts will need to keep their feet on the gas for the entire 60 minutes of hockey. Getting comfortable in a lead is simply not an option at this point in the season.
The moment the Lightning let their guard down; the Bruins are going to be there to bust the door down. While Andrei Vasilevskiy is arguably one of the best goaltenders in the National Hockey League right now, he is (unbeknownst to popular belief) a mortal man. The Bolts can’t depend on him to be all places at once. The defense is going to have to do their part to keep the puck away from the net and moving forward.
A victory over the Bruins tonight does not guarantee the Lightning the top spot in the Atlantic Division, but a loss will all but seal the deal for the Bruins. The possibility of a comeback is out there, but highly improbable without employing the assistance of some form of higher power.
Of course, while losing the top spot in the Atlantic Division to the Boston Bruins would sting for the Lightning and their fans, it would not be the end of the world. At the end of the day, the most important thing right now is how the Lightning finishes off the Stanley Cup Playoffs. At this point, staying healthy is far more important.
While everyone here in the Bolts Nation (im)patiently awaits puck drop, let’s take a closer look at all the information one will need to make sure they are on top of all the action between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins tonight from the Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida.
Game: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Boston Bruins
Venue: Amalie Arena
Location: Tampa, Florida
Date: Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Start Time: 7:30 p.m. EST
TV Info: NBC Sports Network, SN1, TVAS, NESN
Radio Info: Lightning Radio on 970WFLA or TBL Power Play on iHeartRadio
Live Stream: NBC Sports App in the iTunes App Store and the Google Play Store
The Tampa Bay Lightning hasn’t had the best luck against the Boston Bruins this season, but this doesn’t mean the Bolts should simply limp into the postseason. There is a very good chance these two teams will meet each other at some point in the postseason and a victory in tonight’s game could give the Bolts the jolt they need to kick off the postseason in style and keep the momentum flowing their direction.