With their 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning (79 points) are within one point of the Boston Bruins for the Atlantic Division lead -- and the NHL lead for that matter.
After starting the season on a sour note, the Bolts are 20-2-1 since Dec. 23 and 9-0-1 in their past 10. With Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman, it's no surprise that Tampa Bay has managed to regroup and gain ground in the standings.
The B's are set to face the red-hot Lightning twice next month -- with an extremely valuable four points at stake. Those two games alone make it more of a priority for Boston to bolster its depth, specifically on David Krejci's right wing.
Our Bruins insider Joe Haggerty mentioned a few players the Bruins should target ahead of the Feb. 24 trade deadline -- including Chris Kreider and Tyler Toffoli.
Adding those players could become more important if the B's happen to slip to second in the Atlantic. Why? Because the Toronto Maple Leafs are hanging around in third place in the division, which could mean a third consecutive installment of a first-round Bruins-Leafs playoff series.
And even though Boston has eliminated Toronto in their past two playoff meetings, the young Maple Leafs, powered by Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, should be plenty motivated this time around. So, while the Bolts are nipping at their heels, the B's need to continue to hold them off if they want to see an opponent other than the Leafs in the first round.