Devils at Bolts: Game 12
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: Sun, MSG+
I’ve gotten into the habit of writing the game previews while I watch soccer on Saturday mornings. And for the second consecutive week, I’m writing a preview of the Lightning against the New Jersey Devils. Today is the third game of an early season three-game series between the two teams with each having won once at home. The game today is at Amalie, and the Lightning will be looking to bounce back from a shootout loss to the Bruins while the Devils look to do the same after an overtime loss to Florida.
Last Saturday, the Lightning were preparing to play without a dynamic winger and that theme carries over to this week’s game. But the player has changed. Instead of missing Nikita Kucherov as they were in the 3-1 loss to NJ on October 29th, the Lightning will be without Jonathan Drouin for the second consecutive game. Drouin’s absence deprives the Lightning of one of their most creative offensive players but it does make head coach Jon Cooper’s life easier as he doesn’t have to choose between rookie dynamo Brayden Point and Drouin in the top six.
The Lightning will go into the game looking to avoid the trend of falling behind early to the Devils. In each of the first two games this season, Tampa trailed 2-0 in the first period. While they didn’t play poorly last week in the first period, the results didn’t go in their favor, and they’ll hope for a different outcome this time. But if they can replicate that start where they outshot NJ 16-6 and outchanced them 8-3, they likely won’t find themselves in a 2-0 hole again.
While the Lightning have been harping on the idea of starting strong, New Jersey has been facing the opposite issue. Their third periods have been consistently poor this season. All About the Jersey highlights some of the struggles in their game preview. And on Twitter, Ryan Stimson has hinted that the issues could be due to an issue with the Devils system and forechecking late in games. He will be releasing the data on Monday to support that idea.
Going into the game, one thing to watch will be the frequency of scoring chances for each team. Both teams are in the top five in preventing scoring chances and the bottom five in generating scoring chances. That suggests that scoring chances for either side will be limited tonight and finishing them will be even more important than in a typical game.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point
Ryan Callahan - Valtteri Filppula - Vlad Namestnikov
J.T. Brown - Brian Boyle - Cedric Paquette
Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman
Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr
Braydon Coburn - Nikita Nesterov
New Jersey Devils
Taylor Hall - Travis Zajac - Kyle Palmieri
Mike Camalleri - Adam Henrique - Devonte Smith-Pelley
Beau Bennett - Pavel Zacha - P.A Parenteau
Sergey Kalinin - Vernon Fiddler - Nick Lappin
Andy Greene - Damon Severson
Yohann Auvitu - Ben Lovejoy
John Moore - Kyle Quincey