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A potent brew; Tampa Bay Lightning versus Florida Panthers preseason game preview and open thread

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It's practice, that remains a truth. The top line is still really, really interesting.

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Where: Amalie Arena, Tampa, Florida
When: 7:30 PM EDT | Tickets: Check Availability
Radio: 970 AM WFLA | Television: None | Twitter: Live stream
Opponent Coverage: Litter Box Cats

Is it troubling to know that the TKO Trio, the triplets, have been broken up in the lineup (well, subject to change) for tonight's exhibition game against the Florida Panthers? It's preseason, it's just practice, and it's scary though...

Two-thirds of the line isn't supposed to play, though.  It's even scarier about how the one member of the group will be utilized tonight. From morning skate line rushes, Nikita Kucherov will be on the right wing per usual, but his linemates will be Jonathan Drouin and Steven Stamkos.

From one potent tandem to the other, anarchy continues.

Coach Jon Cooper played down the aspect Drouin is with Stamkos, telling reporters earlier that just because the two are together and have been together doesn't mean it'll stay that way. Heck, Ryan Callahan is slated to play tonight on another line. That thwarts (for the moment) the entire hold-the-line article from the other day.

But it's practice. These aren't final line combos or the final roster, that'll be changed in the near future but this ain't it.

At any rate, the line of Drouin-Stamkos-Kucherov has the potential to be a potent brew. The tandem of Drouin-Stamkos has the potential alone to be potent... if they click, if they get the chemistry desired.  That's what practice is for.

Ben Bishop and Kristers Gudlevskis are the goalies scheduled for the Lightning tonight, with Bishop starting and Gudlevskis spelling him half-way into play. It was against the Panther prospects Gudlevskis went down more than a week ago, sending everyone into a mini panic (and earning Ray Emery an invite to Bolts camp).

The defense is going to be split 50-50 AHL/NHL, with Anthony DeAngelo paired with Jason Garrison, Slater Koekkoek playing with Jake Dotchin and Nikita Nesterov with Anton Stralman for Tampa Bay.

That's a rather one-way preview but... hey, it's practice.

Other Coverage

  • · Tampa Bay Lightning official team preview
  • Full Coverage on SB Nation