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Game Day Preview: Lightning and Bruins meet in Eastern showdown

The Tampa Bay Lightning only have four losses this season, but Boston gave them two of those. Their last meeting resulted in a 5-0 shutout for Boston in Tampa. Including the Bruins, three Atlantic teams are within three points of the East-leading Bolts, so today’s only NHL game will have consequences.

By Curtis Ng

Just one game on the NHL schedule today. Here’s the need-to-know:

LIGHTNING (12-4-0) at BRUINS (10-5-1)

The Tampa Bay Lightning only have four losses this season, but Boston gave them two of those. Their last meeting resulted in a 5-0 shutout for Boston in Tampa. Including the Bruins, three Atlantic teams are within three points of the East-leading Bolts, so today’s only NHL game, an early matinee, will have consequences.

Tampa Bay has quietly scraped together a four-game winning streak to get to where they are. Ben Bishop earned all four victories, allowing only six goals during that stretch, and is tied with Chicago’s Corey Crawford for the league-lead with 11 wins.

Steven Stamkos is tied for the league-lead in goals (14) and points (23). However, Boston has one of the stingiest defenses in the league, allowing just 1.81 goals a game.

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Defenseman Adam McQuaid went down awkwardly during the third period of Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs and didn’t return. His fight with Frazer McLaren may have caused his lower body injury, but there are no details right now. Matt Bartkowski will make just his fifth appearance of the season for the B’s.

Although the Lightning are thrilled with Ben Bishop’s performance, they don’t want to overwork him. With the game today and another one in Montreal tomorrow night, you can expect Anders Lindback to see action.

Player to Watch: Steven Stamkos. He has goals in six straight games and points in his last eight. He had nine goals and 13 points during that stretch.