Bruins Focus: Boston Looks To Gain Ground In Standings Vs. Lightning, Islanders

The B's return home Thursday night


The Bruins return to action Thursday night with a chance to gain some ground in the standings when they kick off their homestand against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It will be the first time Boston fans will see Hampus Lindholm in the eight-spoked B as he makes his debut on the blueline after being traded to the B’s from the Anaheim Ducks. The Lightning also made some tweaks to their lineup ahead of Monday’s trade deadline, so Thursday will mark a big test for the Bruins.

Patrice Bergeron will not return to the lineup and will miss his fourth straight game with an elbow infection that required surgery. Head coach Bruce Cassidy knows the injury isn’t a long-term thing and is hopeful the captain will return Saturday.

Boston also welcomes Zdeno Chara and the New York Islanders to TD Garden on Saturday.

Let’s take a look at what’s next for the Bruins:

Thursday, March 24 vs. Tampa Bay Lightning at 7 p.m. ET
Saturday, March 26 vs. New York Islanders at 12:30 p.m. ET

What Bruins fans need to know
The Bruins are coming off a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over the rival Montreal Canadiens, while the Lightning have lost two straight games and are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games. The third line of Craig Smith, Trent Frederic and Charlie Coyle continues to stay hot and Brad Marchand has begun to heat up once again. All the momentum is swinging in Boston’s favor.

Who Bruins need to watch out for
Brandon Hagel (Lightning) — Hagel was traded from the Chicago Blackhawks to Tampa Bay and really can drive play with his speed, forechecking, versatility and playmaking.

Nick Paul (Lightning) — Another deadline acquisition, Paul gives the Bolts some size on the forward group and is a defensively sound bottom-six player.

Brock Nelson (Islanders) — Nelson leads the Isles with 27 goals and 42 points. He has 10 points on the power play this season and racked up three assists in New York’s 3-0 shutout win over the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

The Lightning are +150 underdogs going into Thursday’s matchup with the Bruins, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Marchand, who scored the OT game-winner Monday, is +150 to score at any time, and +1100 to score the first goal of game. If you’re feeling really bold, Lindholm is +750 to score.

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