The Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins are two of the toughest teams in the Eastern Conference and the entire NHL, and the meeting between these two teams Saturday will be a brutal clash that will prove which team is the cream of the crop.
Not only will there be a chance to move up the standings by winning this game, but the mental advantage over what could potentially be a playoff opponent will also be carried into the postseason.
This lockout-shortened season is already shaping up to be unpredictable, but hockey fans know exactly what they’ll get when watching the Lightning square off with the Bruins.
Saturday’s game will be a war on the ice.
Where: TD Garden, Boston
When: Saturday, Feb. 9, at 1 p.m. ET
Watch: NESN (Boston), SUN Sports (Tampa Bay)
Live Stream: NHL GameCenter
Key Injuries (via USA Today)
Brad Marchand, LW, Questionable
Daniel Paille, LW, Questionable
Shawn Thornton, LW, Out indefinitely
B.J. Crombeen, RW, Questionable
Brendan Mikkelson, D, Questionable
Mattias Ohlund, D, Out indefinitely
Lightning Player to Watch: Martin St. Louis, RW
The Tampa Bay Lightning are led offensively by the play of young star Steven Stamkos, but the most important all-around player to the success of the team in veteran forward Martin St. Louis.
At 37 years old, St. Louis is one of the older players in the NHL, yet he remains one of the most offensively gifted stars at any age. With 16 points over this first 10 games of the season (three goals and 13 assists), the Lightning veteran hasn’t lost a step.
Boston has a cast of huge defenders who can shut down even the best offensive game plans, so St. Louis must use his experience and small stature to force the Bruins on their heels in the offensive zone and open clear lanes to the net.
Expect at least two points from the undersized star.
Bruins Player to Watch: Tyler Seguin, C-RW
The Boston Bruins have a very bright future as long as 21-year-old star Tyler Seguin continues to blossom at the rate he has in his short time in the NHL already.
In nine games so far this season, Seguin has six points (two goals and four assists), including five points in the last five games. If Seguin is back to NHL-game speed and on the offensive pace he set for himself in 2012, Tampa Bay is in trouble Saturday.
Seguin has been playing on the wing and at center when needed, but it doesn’t matter where the team has him as long as he is on the ice. With as much talent as the young star has, the Lightning will have trouble finding a defender who can shut Seguin down.
Prediction: Boston 3, Tampa Bay 2
As great as the Tampa Bay Lightning can be in the offensive zone, the flaws with the lack of elite depth on the blue line will have the Bruins pulling out a hard-fought win Saturday on their home ice.
The Lightning will play valiantly, but it just won’t be enough against the Bruins' vaunted defense and superior goaltending.