Tampa Bay (35-22-4) at Boston (34-22-6)
When: Sunday, February 28th 2016
Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Time: 6:35 ET | TV: NBC Sports
The surging Tampa Bay Lightning look to break a second place tie with the Bruins when they visit Boston on Sunday night. The Lightning have followed captain Steven Stamkos’ lead as of late and have won five straight games. Stamkos scored a goal and assisted on another in Friday night’s 4-0 win at New Jersey. He has now scored a goal in five straight games and is flourishing since being reunited with linemates Alex Killorn and Ryan Callahan, who have also each increased their production. Killorn has two goals and four assists in the last six games while Callahan has three goals and five assists in the same span after suffering through a long scoring slump. Defenseman Victor Hedman, who is third on the team with 36 points and owns a +12 rating, left the New Jersey game with an undisclosed injury, but is expected to play Sunday. Defenseman Matt Carle has also seen an improvement in his offensive game with three points and a +10 rating in the last five games after being kept off the score sheet his first 40 games and posting a -12. Tampa is in the middle of a stretch in which they play six of seven on the road – they are currently 4-0 (3-0 road).
Boston starts a four-game home stand with tonight’s game against Tampa, but the Bruins are just 13-15-3 at TD Garden compared to a remarkable 21-7-3 on the road. The Bruins come in winning their last two by a combined 9-2 over Pittsburgh and Carolina. Brad Marchand has posted four goals in four games and 17 in the past 19 for Boston, which has split the two meetings with Tampa Bay this season, winning on the road and losing at home – both in October. Boston has been dreadful on the power-play lately scoring just four times in their last 45 chances covering 14 games. Forward Matt Beleskey has recorded five goals in the last four games – two in the 4-1 victory at Carolina on Friday. While Marchand tops the team with a career-best 32 goals, Pierre Bergeron leads the Bruins with 53 points after registering a goal and four assists in the past four games. Loui Eriksson and David Krejci are tied for second on the team with 48 points. Eriksson has been rumored to be on the trade market with the deadline to deal coming on Monday. Goalie Tuukka Rask has stopped 82 of 84 shots in the last two games.
The Bruins have been allowing a lot of shots the last two games and Tampa is hot right now with Stamkos. Boston has scored four or more goals in four straight games, so I think the Over might be the play tonight.
Pick: Over 5.5 +120