Ryder/By S. Bradley

TAMPA — Losers in their first home game of the Eastern Conference Final Thursday night in Game 3, the Tampa Bay Lightning figure to come out like a house of fire this afternoon in Game 4.

At least that’s what forward Michael Ryder and the Bruins are anticipating at the St. Pete Times Forum.

“Definitely excitement, that’s for sure,” said Ryder about the team’s dressing room feel some two hours before the puck-drop. “It’s a big game tonight – it could be an even series or up 3-1. It’s the biggest game of the series, I think, so far. For us, we’ve got to take that mindset. We’ve got to be ready to go. It’s all about those first 10 minutes of the period, I think. We’ve got to play hard and throw pucks in and try to get that momentum and try to take it to them quick.”

The Bruins played pretty much the exact type of game they needed to in order to take the 2-1 series lead Thursday. That doesn’t mean they can just duplicate that effort today and leave the Sunshine State with a road-series sweep.

“We definitely know they’re going to be better. And I think we know we have to do a lot of the same things, but maybe even a little harder,” said Ryder. “They’re going to come at us right off the hop and we have to be ready for that. I think it’s all mental right now. We know what we have to do. It’s just all about us outworking them and I think taking away their speed in the neutral zone and limiting their speed.”