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Blues at Lightning preview: Life without Bishop

The Bolts need to take the effort from Tuesday and carry it into tonight — without their starting goaltender.

NHL: St. Louis Blues at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Blues at Lightning: Game 34

Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: Sun, FS-MW

Opponent SBNation Site: St. Louis Game Time

Preview:

If the Tampa Bay Lightning can be compared to a ship headed for shore — that shore being the Stanley Cup playoffs — then en route to that shore this season, the Lightning ship has been veering far off course. Not so much that they’re completely lost (there’s still time to make it to shore) and not so much that they’re starting to sink although the leaks are making everything difficult.

So Tuesday’s win against the Red Wings was about staying the course, which is encouraging of course. But the test comes tonight, against a Blues team the Lightning lost to at the beginning of the month. Is the ship forging ahead or are they turning back around with time seriously running out?

Okay, enough with the analogies. The logical person looks at the team’s play thus far and sees both sides: the good and the bad. But the dangerous thing for the people who view this season through the logical lens is that they also don’t feel a sense of urgency. There’s a difference between urgency and insensible freakout. That’s the fine line we all walk on.

Should the Lightning win tonight, hope is not all lost. There’s still time left to grind through the rest of the season and pick up some healthy players along the way. But it’ll be difficult, especially knowing Ben Bishop is out.

Should they lose? They’ll have to go on a (can’t believe I’m even saying this) a Columbus Blue Jackets-like run — or better. Unfortunately, this team has shown no signs they’re capable of doing that. Christmas is a barometer for the season... and it’s this weekend, you guys.

So watch tonight’s game on the heels of a win. And remember that tomorrow the Capitals (which lost Wednesday in a shootout) are in town.

The Lightning, of course, are dealing with all the injuries, but the Blues are banged up too. Center Paul Statsny is expected to be out, according to the Post-Dispatch. Whether they’ll slide a winger to the middle or make a call-up remains to be seen.

The Blues will get their captain back, defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who was out one game with an illness.

The Blues won 5-4 the last time the two teams met on Dec. 1. The Blues are 5-4-3 since then, while the Bolts are 3-4-2.

Comparison chart:

Line updates

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Cory Conacher - Tyler Johnson - Erik Condra

Brian Boyle - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Drouin

Alex Killorn - Brayden Point - Tanner Richard

JT Brown - Michael Bournival

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Andrej Sustr - Jason Garrison

Slater Koekkoek - Braydon Coburn - Nikita Nesterov

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Kristers Gudlevskis

Scratches

Ondrej Palat, Vladislav Namestnikov, Cedric Paquette, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Callahan, Nikita Kucherov, and Ben Bishop.

St. Louis Blues

Forward Lines

Jaden Schwartz - Paul Statsny - Dmitrij Jaskin

Robby Rabbri - Jori Lehtera - Vlad Tarasenko

Alexander Steen - Patrik Berglund - David Perron

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Defense Pairings

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Joel Edmundson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Brad Hunt - Colton Parayko

Goaltenders

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Line information will be updated in the Game Day Thread.