There’s only one afternoon game scheduled today but it should be fun to watch two of the East's strongest go head-to-head, when the Boston Bruins host the currently electric Tampa Bay Lightning.
Tampa have only lost once in the eight games since losing 5-0 to the Bruins on October 19th and Saturday's victory in Detroit was in my opinion the most impressive performance of this run.
Still, two of their four defeats of the season have been handed to them by Boston so it's clearly been a tough matchup for them and that's reflected in the odds.
The outcome tonight depends on how much has changed in the past few weeks. Despite the prior losses I have trouble passing on the Lightning at the moment, especially when they are out at 3.35.
Unsurprisingly, considering his huge influence and game-winning ability, Steven Stamkos' personal success has been mirroring that of his team by making the score sheet in each of the last six.
More impressive to the purists will be his improvement on the opposite side of the puck and that goes for linemate Martin St Louis too. That new two-way mentality will be tested, when up against David Krejci's clutch unit for the most part tonight.
Jon Cooper has done a fantastic job with the entire Tampa team though, turning them around from one of the worst defences in the NHL last season to an above average one, whilst not massively infringing on the attacking game that suits them so well.
Boston have recovered from a short five game bad spell around the turn of the month to coast through the last two at home and they are still by some way the most fearsome defence in the conference.
Tuukka Rask rightfully takes the headlines with his supreme stats but every skater in front of him is drilled perfectly into their assignments. They have the strength to shut down the Lightning through the neutral zone and limit their opportunities to pick up speed on the rush. The Bruins are available at 2.70 with a -1.5 handicap.
Steven Stamkos to score at any time at 2.25
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