In the previous game vs. Carolina http://www.rawcharge.com/2009/10/7/1074553/tampa-bay-lightning-game-2-at-the, the Lightning had great energy and were very aggressive. Expect to see some more of that tonight. Opening night festivities will heighten that, so the problem shouldn't be coming out flat but coming out too excited. Hopefully, that won't translate into making too many mistakes.
Kurtis Foster is still out, but at this time he is expected to make his return to the lineup on Saturday against the Carolina Hurricanes at home. Still no word on why Mattias Ohlund left the last game, but he is expected to play tonight as well. Matt Smaby was sent down to the Norfolk Admirals on a two-week conditioning assignment, so he is not with the team at this time. With Smaby's temporary departure, the team has only 22 players currently on the roster: 12 forwards, eight defensemen, and two goaltenders.
Veilleux was moved up to the top line with Vincent Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay against Carolina, and he's expected to start there tonight as well. As the second and third lines are set as they are, the only place for Steve Downie is the fourth line. Victor Hedman will now be playing with Ohlund, Hale with Meszaros, and the tandem of Ranger and Walker will stay the same.
Smith should be the starter.
Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines
(updated October 8, 2009, by Raw Charge and is subject to change)
Alex Tanguay | Vincent Lecavalier | Stephane Veilleux
Ryan Malone | Steven Stamkos | Martin St. Louis
Drew Miller | Jeff Halpern | James Wright
Todd Fedoruk | Zenon Konopka | Steve Downie
Mattias Ohlund | Victor Hedman
Paul Ranger | Matt Walker
David Hale | Andrej Meszaros
Mike Smith (Starter)
Related previews from other sites:
Tampa Bay Lighting [Official team site]
Erik Erlendsson, Bolts Report [Tampa Tribune ]
Damian Cristodero, Lightning Strikes [St. Petersburg Times]
Check out the latest on tonight's opponent, the New Jersey Devils, at In Lou We Trust.