BOSTON — The gulf is virtually unimaginably extensive at this point in the time. Nineteen points independent the Tampa Bay Lightning (102 points) and the Boston Bruins (83), even although they are No. 1 and No. 3 in the NHL standings.
“Double digits ahead of everyone, which is impressive,” Bruins mentor Bruce Cassidy claimed. “So is it the rest of us that have to have to get our [butts] in equipment or is it just that they are performing so well?”
And nevertheless if you search at latest record, the Atlantic Division rivals are every single taking part in at an similarly torrid pace. The Lightning are on a 10-game winning streak and 12–2 in their previous 14 video games the Bruins have received 8 of their previous 9 and are 10–4 in their previous 14.
That sets up a doozy of a matchup Thursday, when the Lightning and Bruins enjoy at TD Garden (7:30 p.m. ET NBCSN, SN1, SNE, SNO, TVAS, NHL.Tv) to see accurately where by they every single stand.
“It really is two groups that are buzzing appropriate now,” Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk claimed. “It really is heading to be a difficult task. It really is the ideal team in the NHL, and at any time you enjoy division groups it will make it a little additional crucial. Naturally, they knocked us out previous year, so you can find that as well.”
Which delivers up the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
However there are six weeks to go in the normal time, there is a excellent possibility the Lightning and Bruins could confront every single other in the postseason. If the playoffs started off right now, the Bruins would see the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Eastern Convention Very first Spherical with the Lightning taking part in the Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold the next wild card. That could suggest a rematch of the next-round collection from previous time, when Tampa Bay defeated Boston in 5 video games.
Not that the Bruins or Lightning are looking that significantly ahead. But still, it is there.
“You’ve received to make the playoffs initial, and then go from there,” DeBrusk claimed. “But clearly we are heading to have to go by way of them to gain the Stanley Cup.”
In a quirk of the plan, the Lightning and Bruins have faced every single other once this time, a 3-2 gain for the Lightning at Amalie Arena on Dec. 6. Boston was missing heart Patrice Bergeron and defenseman Zdeno Chara. The Bruins and Lightning enjoy a few additional periods this time, together with the game on Thursday and the normal-time finale April 6. But it is been additional than two months because they played every single other.
“It feels like you are taking part in them for the initial time,” Bruins defenseman Torey Krug claimed. “On the lookout forward to reigniting that flame.”
Specifically provided the way Boston is taking part in appropriate now — and who is in the lineup.
Other than forward David Pastrnak, who is out following having remaining thumb surgery Feb. 11, the Bruins are healthful. That need to give them a greater sense of where by they stand towards the class of the NHL.
“You use it as a measuring stick,” DeBrusk claimed. “It really is a person of people issues where by you circle it on the calendar. … Matters are heading well for us appropriate now as a team, heading up towards a team which is hot as well, it is sort of clash of the titans.”
The standings have the electric power to amaze the Bruins, viewing what they have performed of late, how little headway they have created towards the Lightning, even although leaping over other groups in the Atlantic Division. When the Bruins began their point streak on Jan. 28, they had been in the initial wild-card spot, driving the Maple Leafs and the Canadiens, as well as 17 points driving the Lightning.
They have dropped two points to the Lightning because then, all although earning all but four achievable points in their operate.
“I was just looking at that,” forward Brad Marchand claimed. “It really is amazing, the time they are having. It speaks to their depth, how well they have played all year very long, just the regularity in their team. If you want to compete with them, you have to provide your A-game every single evening.”
Beginning on Thursday.
“It really is heading to be a whole lot of pleasurable,” Krug claimed. “It really is two groups that are feeling excellent about on their own, a team we almost certainly have to go by way of to gain the Stanley Cup. So, it is often great to get out there and see how you measure up to them. It really is heading to be a pleasurable setting.”
Cassidy cautioned towards studying also much into a person game, in particular with the Lightning coming off a few video games in four evenings and taking part in the next game of a again-to-again following a 4-3 victory towards the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
“But, expressing that, I never believe it is just like a normal game,” Cassidy claimed. “They are the cream of the crop in the NHL. So we would like to see how we measure up towards them, if that will make sense.”
It does. This is the ideal team in the NHL, a team that Cassidy pointed out has couple of weaknesses, standing initial in the NHL in electric power enjoy percentage (29.7), just ahead of the Bruins (26.4) and tied for initial in penalty-killing with the Arizona Coyotes (85.7) moving into Wednesday.
“That is special,” he claimed. “Usually you have a deficiency somewhere. But it will not search like they do. We are heading to discover out tomorrow.”
So, sure, beating them would suggest something, even if it will not equate to additional than two points in the standings, even if it will never make a variance in any opportunity playoff matchup. It would still make a statement.
And the Bruins are all set.
“They are No. 1 for a explanation,” DeBrusk claimed. “We’ve received to enjoy our ideal game of the year.”