Victor Hedman and the Tampa Bay Lightning hope to avoid a third loss in four games when they head north to renew their rivalry with the host Boston Bruins on Saturday night.
Hedman scored a pair of goals and added an assist to lead the Lightning in a 4-2 home win against St. Louis on Thursday. The win capped a home-and-home split for Tampa Bay, which blew a 3-0 lead before falling 4-3 in a shootout in St. Louis on Tuesday.
Steven Stamkos contributed an assist on Thursday and has recorded a point in five straight games. The Lightning captain returned to the ice after missing the team's loss at St. Louis due to the birth of his son.
"Obviously, having Stammer back sparked us a little bit," Hedman told Bally Sports Sun. "I thought we played well in St. Louis. Obviously being up 3-0 and losing is not good, but I thought we battled hard. To come back home and win this game was huge for us."
On Thursday, Ondrej Palat opened the scoring for Tampa Bay early in the first period. After Andrei Vasilevskiy (26 saves) gave up a tying power-play goal in the second, Anthony Cirelli restored the Lightning lead with a power-play strike of his own 4:26 into the third.
The Blues tied it nearly three minutes later before Hedman netted the eventual winner at 8:09 of the final period. He added his fifth goal of the season just over two minutes later to put the game out of reach.
The two-time defending champion Lightning have won four of their last seven games overall.
Vasilevskiy is 5-5-1 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.63 goals-against average in 11 prior starts versus the Bruins. Backup Brian Elliott is 5-9-3 with a .898 save percentage while allowing 2.89 goals per game in 19 games against Boston.
The Bruins return home after a quick pitstop in Nashville, where they earned a 2-0 victory on Thursday.
Jake DeBrusk pushed aside off-ice distractions to score for the fourth time this season two games after requesting a trade. Brandon Carlo added a goal while rookie netminder Jeremy Swayman recorded a career-high 42 saves in his first shutout of the season.
"I liked the way that we competed," said Bruins interim coach Joe Sacco, who is filling in while head coach Bruce Cassidy is away from the team in COVID-19 protocol. "We just battled, we battled hard tonight, and our goaltender came up with some big saves."
Boston has alternated wins and losses while winning four of its last seven games.
The already short-handed Bruins lost defenseman Jakub Zboril to a lower-body injury in the second period of Thursday's game. Sacco said Zboril would be re-evaluated upon the team's return to Boston.
Bruins alternate captain Brad Marchand will miss his third straight game on Saturday while serving a three-game suspension for slew-footing Vancouver defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson in a game last Sunday.
Swayman has never faced the Lightning, who did not play the Bruins during last season's pandemic-altered scheduling. Boston's other goalie Linus Ullmark is winless in five starts (0-5-0) with a .861 save percentage and 4.50 goals-against average lifetime versus Tampa Bay.
--Field Level Media