Neither the Boston Bruins nor the Tampa Bay Lightning technically have anything to play for Saturday at TD Garden, but expect the game to look anything but meaningless for the Eastern Conference rivals.
Both squads already have clinched their respective spots in the standings, with the Bruins set to square off with the Toronto Maple Leafs in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs and the Lightning having clinched the Presidents’ Trophy weeks ago. There’s a great chance these two teams will meet in the the second round, however, so Saturday’s game could serve as a statement opportunity for both groups.
All that being said, the Lightning have a chance to tie the NHL record for regular-season wins (62), and the Bruins can clinch the league’s second best record with a win and a Calgary Flames loss.
As for the lineups and pairings, both teams will rest multiple players for their season finales. The Bruins are expected to sit Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Torey Krug, among others, while star defenseman Victor Hedman will be among those resting for the Lightning.
Tuukka Rask will start in net for the Bruins, opposite Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Here are the projected lines and defense pairings for Saturday’s Bruins-Lightning game:
BOSTON BRUINS (49-23-9)
Jake DeBrusk — David Krejci — David Pastrnak
Marcus Johansson — Charlie Coyle — Zach Senyshyn
Anton Blidh — Trent Frederic– David Backes
Danton Heinen — Joakin Nordstrom — Karson Kuhlman
Zdeno Chara — Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk — Connor Clifton
Jeremy Lauzon — Steven Kampfer
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (61-16-4)
Ondrej Palat — Steven Stamkos — Tyler Johnson
Yanni Gourde — Brayden Point — Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — Mathieu Joseph
Adam Erne — Cedric Paquette — Ryan Callahan
Braydon Coburn — Anton Stralman
Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev — Jan Rutta
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Images