BOSTON — Something will have to give Thursday night when two of the hottest teams in the NHL square off at TD Garden.
The Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning will go toe-to-toe in a battle of Eastern Conference powerhouses. The Bruins, who currently are riding a 14-game point streak, are 8-0-2 in their last 10 games, while the Lightning, the league’s top team by a 13-point margin, are a perfect 10-0-0.
This will be just the second meeting of the season between the Atlantic Division rivals. Tampa Bay claimed a narrow 3-2 victory in the teams’ first tilt in early December thanks to two third-period goals. Not to mention, the Bolts needed just five games to oust the B’s last season in their Eastern Conference semifinals series.
Boston will trot out the same lineup as Tuesday’s win over the San Jose Sharks with one exception: Tuukka Rask returns between the pipes looking to earn his seventh win in February on the last day of the month.
Here are the projected lines and defensive pairings for both teams:
BOSTON BRUINS (37-17-9)
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–Danton Heinen
Jake DeBrusk–David Krejci–Marcus Johansson
Joakim Nordstrom–Charlie Coyle–David Backes
Sean Kuraly–Noel Acciari–Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara–Charlie McAvoy
Torey Krug–Brandon Carlo
John Moore–Matt Grzelcyk
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (49-11-4)
Ondrej Palat–Steven Stamkos–J.T. Miller
Tyler Johnson–Brayden Point–Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn–Anthony Cirelli–Yanni Gourde
Adam Erne–Cedric Paquette–Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman–Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh–Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev–Anton Stralman
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports