The Lightning open up the 2013-14 season tonight against the Boston Bruins at Boston’s TD Garden in the first of four meetings on the season and the first of three consecutive road games before returning home to Tampa Bay.
Tonight begins a new chapter for the Lightning in many ways as Martin St. Louis begins his reign as captain, Jon Cooper begins his first full season behind the bench as head coach and for the first time since the Bolts inaugural season that the Red Wings and Maple Leafs are all in the same conference.
The Bolts are now in the newly formed Atlantic division along with the Florida Panthers who have joined Boston, Buffalo, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto from the old Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference and the Detroit Red Wings who moved east from the Central Division of the Western Conference.
In opening against the Bruins, the Bolts will be looking for just their fifth all-time win in Boston and their first since March 25, 2010 at TD Garden. As for season openers, the Lightning and Bruins have met one other time and that was at the Tampa Bay Times Forum back in 2003-04 with the Lightning winning.
Last season the Lightning lost all three games against Boston and not only will they be looking to snap a seven-game road losing streak that dates back to last season, but to give coach Jon Cooper a win in his first game behind the bench in his first full season.
The Bolts have won eight of their past 10 season openers, including the last three season openers. Overall the Lightning owns an all-time record of 12-6-2 in season openers in their history. On the flip-side, the Bruins are 36-36-16 overall in season-opening games and are 29-16-11 when opening at home. However, they are 2-7-1-0 in their last 10 season opening contests.
Tonight’s meeting is the 78th all-time in their franchise histories with the Bruins having a 48-20-9-0 record. Additionally, the Bruins have outscored the Bolts 261-201 in those games. Boston has also won their last six contests against the Bolts and is 9-1-0 in their last 10 home games against them.
The Lightning finished their pre-season 5-2-0, ranking them third in the Atlantic Division with 10 points. Their 25 goals led the division and ranked them tied for second in the Eastern Conference with Washington (29).
Steven Stamkos led all Bolts skaters with seven points (4G, 3A) with a +5 rating and newly acquired Valtteri Filppula led all Bolts skaters with four assists. In-between the pipes, Ben Bishop posted a 2-0-0 record with a 2.60 goals-against average in three games.
Boston concluded their pre-season going 6-1-0. Matt Bartkowski led the team scoring with 7 assists in 5 games. The Bruins finished the exhibition slate with a 21.2 power play percentage (7/33) and 78.1% efficiency on the penalty kill (7/32).
Last season against the Bruins, Steven Stamkos netted a goal in each of his first two games and finished the season with three points while Teddy Purcell led all skaters with four points (all assists).
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Keys for a Bolts Win
Solid defense all around, no "give-me some soft" goals from Lindback. He's 6'6" and needs to make the stops. Time to see the "Syracuse" line (Palat, Johnson and Panik) light the lamp like they did in Syracuse.
Projected Lineup - Lightning
Projected Lineup – Bruins
Scratched: Matt Bartkowski
Bolts 2013-2014 Opening Day Roster
Forwards: B.J. Crombeen, Valtteri Filppula, Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn, Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Ryan Malone, Ondrej Palat, Richard Panik, Teddy Purcell, Tom Pyatt, Martin St Louis, Steven Stamkos, Nate Thompson
Lightning Nutz and Boltz
Martin St. Louis has tallied 34 career points (15 goals, 18 assists) against the Bruins while Steven Stamkos has 12 goals in 19 career games against Boston.
Steven Stamkos leads all NHL players with the most goals since the start of the 2009-10 season and when he scores a goal the Bolts are 89-42-14 (also since 2009-10).
The Week Ahead
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