Tuukka Rask expected to start for Bruins in first matchup of Tyler Seguin and Steven Stamkos
|11.22.10 at 2:39 pm ET|
Tuukka Rask was first off the ice on Monday, indicating he’ll be between the pipes when the Bruins take on Mike Smith and the Lightning in Tampa Bay. Guy Boucher‘s club is currently riding a three-game win streak.
WHERE IT’S AT
– The B’s are 7-1-0 on the road, with their lone loss coming on Nov. 5 in Washington. They have 10 goals in their last two road games, seven of which came in their come-from-behind victory over the Penguins on Nov. 10.
– The Lightning are 4-2-1 at home, and 2-2-1 in their last five home games.
– Michael Ryder saw a dip in his playing time on Saturday. Ryder entered the contest averaging 14:01 a night, but got just 9:50 of ice time. It was the first time all season that Ryder played less than 12 minutes, let alone 10.
– Between the two starting goalies tonight, just one goal has been allowed in their last starts. Rask blanked the Panthers in Boston while Smith allowed one goal on 30 shots against the Sabers in Buffalo.
– Steven Stamkos is out of his mind. He’s got 19 goals this season, with Sidney Crosby and Alexander Semin a distant five goals behind him for the lead league.
Stamkos had 23 goals as a rookie, and given all the parallels between he and Tyler Seguin, this scribe is holding firm on the projection that Seguin finishes the season in that ballpark. Seguin is on pace for 18.
STORYLINES GOING IN
– After one game of having Seguin as a third line winger, Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe reports that Seguin will swap spots with Jordan Caron and jump up to the second line. The initial reaction is that this is a great move for multiple reasons. For starters, it returns Seguin to the generation-spanning line that looked so intriguing in the preseason and puts the young scorer on a line with two of the top-three guys on the team in assists. Mark Recchi leads the B’s will 11, while Patrice Bergeron is tied for second with Nathan Horton (10).
This move will also be good for the team in that it gets a slumping Caron off the second line. He hasn’t scored in 10 games, picking up just two assists over that period.
Expect the lines to look like this:
Lucic – Krejci – Horton
Seguin – Bergeron – Recchi
Caron – Wheeler – Ryder
Marchand – Campbell – Thornton
– It should be interesting to see how Rask, who is tied for third in the league with a .939 save percentage, fares against an offense as productive as Tampa Bay’s. Rask had a 41-save shutout the last time out against the Panthers, but the Tampa Bay is averaging 3.1 goals per game (5th in the NHL) and have totaled 14 goals in their three-game winning streak.
– Special teams could be key in this game, as it matches the third-best power play in the league (Tampa Bay scores on 24.4 of its power plays) against the Bruins’s 89.9 penalty kill percentage, which is second in the league.