Tuesday, 03.27.2012 / 12:57 AM
NHL.comLIGHTNING (35-33-7) at BRUINS (44-28-3)
TV: NBCSN (HD), TSN2, NESN (HD)
Tampa Bay 4-5-1; Boston 5-5-0.
This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams. Tampa Bay has won two of the first three showdowns, including a 6-1 rout at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on March 13.
Boston is certainly going to qualify for the postseason, but the defending Stanley Cup champions are still fighting for home-ice advantage in the opening round. The Bruins enter Tuesday's action just three points of the Ottawa Senators in the Northeast Division, with the winner likely landing the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Tampa Bay is likely to finish outside the top eight spots in the East, but the Lightning won't go down without a fight. The club won its third straight game Monday night, a 5-3 decision against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Wells Fargo Center. Dwayne Roloson, who has struggled for much of the season, was magnificent in a game that saw Tampa Bay get outshot 38-15.
"It is a confidence booster," coach Guy Boucher said of the 42-year-old Roloson. "I think for all the work he's put in all year, the bad work and circumstances that didn't turn his way, to get those games back certainly makes him feel good, makes the team feel good, and the guys gave him a standing ovation the other day and tonight the same thing. The guys are clapping hard for him and he deserves it. He's been a professional the entire year."
Boston returns home after winning two of three games on the West Coast, including back-to-back at Los Angeles and Anaheim, respectively. Twenty-four hours after earning 4-2 win against the Kings, the Bruins headed south on the freeway and beat the Ducks 3-2 on Sunday night.
"I've played for almost 20 years in this League, and I haven't quite seen a jelled team like this," Brian Rolston
said. "Even though we were struggling a little bit, it's just a real team. It's not about individuals, and that speaks to the character in this dressing room."
Steven Stamkos set a franchise record when the Lightning center scored his 53rd goal of the season Monday night. He has three goals in his last two games. … Bruins forward Chris Kelly
has four goals and three assists in his past five games, while Rolston is 3-8-11 in his last six.
Lightning centers Vincent Lecavalier (hand) and Nate Thompson (upper body) and right wing Adam Hall (upper body) are day-to-day. Mattias Ohlund (knees), Dana Tyrell (knee), Marc-Andre Bergeron (back), Mathieu Garon (lower body) and Ryan Shannon (upper body) are out. … Boston is missing Tuukka Rask
(abdominal injury), Nathan Horton
(concussion) and Marc Savard
Roloson is on his first three-game win streak since the first week of November.
"When I first got here, this team wasn't firing on all cylinders. They weren't playing like they can, imposing their will. Team defense makes this team tick and this team defense comes with attitude. It's a real treat to have these guys out here, not just the defense. It was a good sight to see." -- Bruins goalie Marty Turco