Bruins host Lightning in rematch of East finals

A rematch of last season's Eastern Conference finals is on tap tonight in Boston, as the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins host the Tampa Bay Lightning at TD Garden.

Before winning their first Stanley Cup title since 1972 with a Game 7 victory in Vancouver, the Bruins also had to go the distance with the Lightning. Boston punched its ticket to the Cup Finals with a 1-0 home win over Tampa on May 27.

In addition to winning that playoff series, the Bruins also took three out of four regular-season meetings against Tampa Bay in 2010-11. Not including the postseason, the Lightning have dropped two straight and five of their last six in Boston.

The Bruins were unable to get their title defense off on the right foot on Thursday, however, as they lost their home and season opener to Philadelphia. The Flyers posted a 2-1 regulation win to put a damper on an emotional night in Boston that included the raising of the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup banner to the TD Garden rafters.

"That was really nice. Obviously it was emotional and all very exciting for us and all the fans and the whole city," said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara about the pre-game ceremony. "I thought that they did a pretty good job to put up the nice presentation so it was very special."

Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 22-of-23 shots in his Philly debut and Jakub Voracek tallied the deciding score late in the first period for the Flyers.

Brad Marchand notched the lone score for the Bruins. Tim Thomas, the reigning Vezina Trophy and Conn Smythe Trophy winner, made 27 saves in defeat.

Boston played Thursday's game without defenseman Adam McQuaid, who is suffering from flu-like symptoms. McQuaid is questionable for tonight's contest.

The Lightning, meanwhile, turned in a strong effort in their first game of 2011-12, as they pounded Carolina, 5-1, in Raleigh on Friday. Steve Downie, Adam Hall and Ryan Malone each scored a third-period goal to lift Tampa to the lopsided victory at RBC Center.

Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier also scored for the Lightning, while Dwayne Roloson registered 32 saves for the victors.

Tampa Bay is beginning this season on a five-game road trip and won't play a home game until it hosts Florida on Oct. 17. The Bolts, who will visit Washington on Monday, had a 21-14-6 record as the visiting team last season.