By: Benjamin Aliber | Follow me on Twitter @baliber24
Following the win on Tuesday night against the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins improved to 38-5-4 on the season and won their sixth game in a row. Thursday will mark the second of their five-game road trip, as the Bruins will travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. While Boston sits 19 points ahead of the Lightning in the Atlantic Division Standings, Tampa’s home record is 18-4-1, the third-best home record in the league.
Even though the Bruins are atop the entire NHL with 80 points, New Jersey being the next closest at 66, only 33 of those points have come on the road. Many people will be watching this game closely because Boston has the second-best road record when you sort it by wins, as they are tied with the Seattle Kraken with 16 on the season.
Another reason to keep an eye on this game is Boston just broke another NHL record in their previous game against Montreal. According to StatsCentre, they became the fastest team to reach 80 points in the standings during a single season in NHL history!
Now let us look at the stats going into this game for Boston. Currently, they are tied with the Buffalo Sabres for the most goals scored (179), allowed the least amount of goals (95), and have a +85 goal differential. The Bruins have the second-best power play in the league, converting 27.2% of the time and a league-best 86.8% effectiveness when they are on the penalty kill.
Tampa Bay, however, has the fifth most goals this season (166), ranks 19th in goals against (136), and carries a +30 goal differential. Tampa has the third-best power play in the league, scoring 26.9% of the time and the twelfth-best penalty kill (80.4%).
In their last ten games, the Bruins have scored 41 goals, which averages out to 4.1 goals per game. Simultaneously, they have allowed 15 goals in their previous ten games for an average of 1.5 goals per game. Over their last 41 attempts on the powerplay, they have scored seven times, and when they were on the penalty kill, they allowed only two goals over the 32 times the team was shorthanded.
Retrospectively, when it comes to the Lightning, they have scored 37 times in their last ten games, or a 3.7 goal per game average, and have given up 34 goals over that span which averages 3.4 goals allowed per game. Regarding their power play, over the last ten games, they had 32 chances and scored only eight times. During that same span, they went on the penalty kill 36 times and surrendered nine goals.
These two teams are matched on many levels, as shown by the stars above. Boston already took games one and two of their four-game season series this year. In those two previous games, the Bruins outscored the Lightning eight to four, went three for five when on the man advantage, and killed off three of their five penalties.
If the Bruins can stay disciplined and play “their game,” I see no reason why they should not win this game. For those watching in and around the Boston area, you can catch the game on NESN, NESN360, or ESPN+ at 7:00 p.m. EST.