BOSTON — Two crucial points will be up for grabs Sunday evening as the Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning do battle at TD Garden.
The B’s and Bolts enter the game in a de facto tie for second place in the Atlantic Division with 74 points apiece. The Lightning, who own the tiebreaker, won 6-3 on Oct. 12 in their lone visit to Causeway Street this season, and the Bruins responded with a 3-1 victory Halloween night at Amalie Arena.
“Obviously, with the standings so tight, we’re tied, it’s a big game,” Bruins winger Brett Connolly told reporters Sunday morning, via BostonBruins.com. “It’s going to be fun. Two good teams are going to go at it (Sunday night).”
Tampa Bay dealt Connolly to Boston at last season’s trade deadline. With this year’s deadline just one day away, all eyes now are on another Bruins winger: Loui Eriksson, who is set to hit free agency this summer and as of Sunday afternoon had yet to agree on a contract extension.
Eriksson, who enters the game tied for second among Bruins players in both goals and points this season, declined to discuss his uncertain future when addressing the media Sunday morning.
“Right now, we’ll see what’s going to happen, and all I can do is just play, and just help the team, like I’ve been saying the last couple times I’ve talked to you guys,” Eriksson told reporters. “There’s obviously a lot of things going around, and coming back to it again, I’m just trying to play the game and have fun with the team and try to win games right now.”
Eriksson is expected to be in the lineup against the Lightning.
The Bruins placed fourth-liners Max Talbot and Zac Rinaldo on waivers Saturday and Sunday, respectively, but both will be eligible to play against Tampa Bay.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for both teams:
BOSTON BRUINS (34-22-6)
Brad Marchand — Patrice Bergeron — Brett Connolly
Loui Eriksson — David Krejci — David Pastrnak
Matt Beleskey — Ryan Spooner — Jimmy Hayes
Zac Rinaldo — Joonas Kemppainen — Landon Ferraro
Zdeno Chara — Adam McQuaid
Torey Krug — Dennis Seidenberg
Joe Morrow — Kevan Miller
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (35-22-7)
Alex Killorn — Steven Stamkos — Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat — Tyler Johnson — Nikita Kucherov
Cedric Paquette — Valtteri Filppula — J.T. Brown
Brian Boyle — Vladislav Namestnikov — Jonathan Marchessault
Victor Hedman — Anton Stralman
Matt Carle — Andrej Sustr
Nikita Nesterov — Braydon Coburn
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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