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Lightning at Senators preview: Guy Boucher seeks his revenge

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Guy Boucher gets his chance for revenge against the team that fired him in 2013.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Ottawa Senators Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators: Game 5

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, ON.

Broadcast/Streaming: Lightning Radio, Fox Sports Sun, SN1, SN360

Opponent SBNation Site: Silver Seven Sens

Preview:

The Lightning and the Senators each enter Saturday night’s intra-division matchup having won three of their first four games. The Lightning required a shootout in one of their three wins while the Sens have an OT win and a shootout win. Most people expect the Lightning to make a deep playoff run this year but the Sens winning three of their first four is somewhat unexpected given the relatively low expectations for the team.

The most prominent storyline in tonight’s game is the Lightning facing their former head coach, Guy Boucher, who was hired by Ottawa to takeover from Dave Cameron. Boucher began his time in Tampa in the 2010-2011 season leading the team to a surprising Eastern Conference Final appearance. He was not able to sustain that success and missed the playoffs the following year before being fired by General Manager Steve Yzerman in the spring of 2013. After his firing, the Lightning hired current head coach Jon Cooper.

If you like Swedish defenders (and who doesn’t), tonight’s game is a dream. The Lightning’s Swedefenders, Victor Hedman and Anton Stralman, will face fellow Swedish superstar Erik Karlsson. Hedman and Karlsson are two of the favorites to win the Norris Trophy this year. Both represent the ideal of a modern defender who is solid in his own end but also able to join the rush and create offense.

The Lightning will have the advantage in talent, although it is worth noting that the Pyatt-Pageau-Kelly line has been creating consistent pressure for the Senators. Outside of Karlsson and Mike Hoffman, the Sens don’t have the type of dynamic depth that the Lightning possess. And after putting up by far their worst performance of the season in their last game, the Lightning will likely come out looking to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Combine that with the Lightning’s inside knowledge of Boucher’s systems and the Bolts should be able to put together a strong performance.

Comparison chart:

The chart above uses last year’s numbers because we’re still too early in this season to have a meaningful sample. And given the change from Cameron to Boucher, the Senators numbers should be expected to improve somewhat just based on a system improvement. But even accounting for some improvement, the Lightning, with coaching and players relatively unchanged from last season, still look to be the better team, and this game is a perfect opportunity to pick up an early win on the road against a divisional opponent.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Jonathan Drouin

Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Vladislav Namestnikov - Valtteri Filppula - Brayden Point

Cedric Paquette - Brian Boyle - J.T. Brown

Defence Pairings

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn, Nikita Nesterov, Matt Taormina

Goaltenders

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Ottawa Senators

Forward Lines

Mike Hoffman - Kyle Turris - Mark Stone

Zach Smith - Derick Brassard - Bobby Ryan

Chris Kelly - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Tom Pyatt

Thomas Chabot - Ryan Dzingels - Chris Neil

Defence Pairings

Mark Methot - Erik Karlsson

Dion Phaneuf - Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki - Chris Wideman

Goaltenders

Craig Anderson

Andrew Hammond