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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Anaheim Ducks: The Bolts play their second Western Conference opponent

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The Ducks are coming off an embarrassing loss in Sunrise. Can they rebound against the NHL’s current top club?

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Florida Panthers Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Anaheim Ducks @ Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #12

Time: 7:30 Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast / Streaming: SUN, PRIME

Opponent SBNation Site: Anaheim Calling

Preview:

The Lightning and Ducks both played on Thursday night in the state of Florida. The Bolts, of course, beat the Red Wings by a score of 3-2 to improve to 6-0-0 at Amalie Arena this year. The score makes it seem like the game was a lot closer than it should’ve been—the refs’ fingers were all over this one. As for the Ducks, they are coming off of a disastrous outing in south Florida, where the Panthers shelled them for 8 goals, while the once-mighty Ducks potted 3 of their own.

The Ducks (4-4-1) fell to 1-1-0 on their current four-game road trip, which will wrap up in Raleigh tomorrow at 5 pm. I dislike how teams have to play on back-to-back nights when significant travel is involved. Just don’t think it’s fair at all. However, I selfishly love when the NHL’s Scheduling Guru—whomever that may be—schedules Team X to play the Panthers on one night and then makes them travel up I-75 to play the Bolts two nights later.

The Ducks have been ravaged with early season injuries thus far. Kevin Bieksa, Ryan Miller, Sami Vatanen, Ryan Kesler, and Cam Folwer will not play tonight. Those are some big names for a tough Anaheim club. Patrick Eaves (who was acquired for a conditional second-rounder, which eventually become a first-rounder due to Anaheim’s postseason success, at last season’s trade deadline from the Dallas Stars) will also not suit up, because he was just diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome.

As for the Lightning, the 11/7 lineup continues to work wonders. J.T. Brown has played really well these last two games, after having been a healthy scratch since October 7th in the Lightning’s only regulation loss (5-4) in Sunrise. The Bolts (9-1-1) will look to remain perfect on home ice against what should be a pissed-off Ducks club. The power play is red hot; Stamkos and Kucherov are sporting matching 11-game point streaks, and Vasilevskiy is riding an 8-game win streak himself, which includes a .964 save percentage in his last 6 outings. Purely insane.

Comparison:

The power plays of both of these clubs are polar opposites. Tampa Bay is converting on 31.1% of chances thus far, which includes 14 power play goals, pacing the NHL. Anaheim, however, has only scored 2 power play goals on 31 chances—good for 30th in the League and a 6.5% conversion rate.

Both clubs ranked in the top half in penalty killing—Anaheim in 11th with an 84.1% kill rate and Tampa Bay in 13th with an 82.6% kill rate. If Anaheim cannot stay out of the box against the Bolts, it could be a very long night for Randy Carlyle’s club.

Tampa Bay Lightning:

Forward Lines:

Vladislav NamestnikovSteven StamkosNikita Kucherov

Ondrej PalatBrayden PointYanni Gourde

Alex KillornTyler Johnson

Chris Kunitz — J.T. Brown — Ryan Callahan

Defense Pairings:

Victor HedmanJake Dotchin

Mikhail SergachevAnton Stralman

Braydon CoburnDan Girardi

Andrej Sustr

Goaltenders:

Peter Budaj

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Lineup Notes:

Would really love to see Koekkoek step in tonight. Sustr played a team-low 6:55 on Thursday and, per usual, was, let’s just say—weak.

Anaheim Ducks:

Forward Lines:

Rickard Rakell — Ryan Getzlaf — Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano — Antoine Vermette — Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie — Derek Grant — Ondrej Kase

Chris WagnerKalle KossilaLogan Shaw

Defense Pairings:

Hampus Lindholm — Josh Manson

Francois Beauchemin — Brandon Montour

Jaycob Megna — Korbinian Holzer

Goaltenders:

John Gibson

Reto Berra