Last season the Bruins clinched a playoff berth with a 4-3 overtime victory over the Lightning on March 24. Boston finished first in the Eastern Conference in 2002, but lost in six games to the Montreal Canadiens in first round of the playoffs.
This season, Boston is battling for the final two playoff spots. On Saturday, the Bruins had a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1) snapped with a 3-1 loss here to the New York Rangers. Joe Thornton ended a seven-game drought with his 35th goal, but the Bruins could manage nothing else against goaltender Mike Dunham.
Boston is seventh in the East, three points ahead of the New York Islanders, and will clinch a postseason berth with a win.
Tampa Bay is two points in front of Washington, which is idle Monday, for the lead in the Southeast Division.
St. Louis deflected Brad Richards’ slap shot over goaltender Roberto Luongo’s left shoulder for his team-leading 33rd goal. Nikolai Khabibulin made 29 saves as Tampa Bay moved to 6-0-5 in its last 11 games, which is third-longest in the NHL this season. Vancouver and Dallas posted unbeaten streaks of 14 and 12 games, respectively.
Tampa Bay is 2-0-0-1 against Boston this season.
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