NHL on NBCSN: Lightning visit the battered Bruins of Boston

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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2017-18 NHL season continues on Wednesday night, as the Tampa Bay Lightning visit the Boston Bruins at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can stream the game by clicking here.

The Bruins will host the Lightning tonight with the possibility of two big names returning to the lineup.

Brad Marchand, who’s missed eight of Boston’s last 10 games, and David Backes, who underwent colon surgery and has been out since Oct. 30, could be back. It was originally believed Backes would be out until closer to the new year, but this is a sign he’s way ahead of schedule.

Of course, since this is the battered Bruins we’re talking about, we have to note that while two players are close to full health, two-thirds of their second line will sit. David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk will both miss Wednesday’s game and are considered day-to-day.

Winners of four of their last five, the Bruins also have a decision to make in goal. While head coach Bruce Cassidy reassured that Tuukka Rask still has No. 1 status, Anton Khudobin has helped the team win his last four starts. Rask was in goal during their 4-2 loss to Edmonton Sunday night and has a .890 even strength save percentage in his last four starts.

The Lightning, meanwhile, are coming off a 2-0 shutout of the Buffalo Sabres Tuesday, which ended their longest losing streak of the season at a whole two games.

Tampa had lost three of four games before last night’s win, which for them this season was considered a major slide. But those bumps in the road are sometimes a good thing for a team to experience.

“Do you want adversity? Probably not,” Cooper said on Tuesday. “But is it a bad thing? Probably not either. You have to learn from these. So many things went right for us that some things came a little bit easy for us. I believe we earned those breaks, but it might be a little time now where things aren’t coming easy for us to reset and figure out why we got those breaks and get back to that.”

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.