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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils Preview: The end of a long weekend

Lightning look to move to 3-0 on current homestand.

NHL: New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Team at Team: Game #23

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: SunS, MSG+

Opponent SBNation Site: All About the Jersey

Preview:

The Lightning close out the long holiday weekend with a home game against the Devils. New Jersey enters the game losing three of their last five games including a 4-3 loss to the Islanders in their most recent game. The Lightning have won four of their last five and are on a two-game winning streak including a dominant win over Chicago on Friday.

As expected, Taylor Hall has been the Devils leading scorer and probably their best player this season. But he’s gotten support from his linemates. Kyle Palmieri started the season hot and is only a few points behind Hall. Nico Hischier hasn’t scored the way Hall and Palmieri have but he’s been even more impactful than Hall according to WAR.

On the blue line, Damon Severson has been outstanding. He’s third on the team in scoring and sits right behind Hall and Hischier in on-ice impacts so far this season. Head coach John Hynes prefers to play him on the second pair with Sami Vatanen playing on the right on the top pair. But with Vatanen trailing Severson in just about every meaningful defender stat, maybe Severson will got a shot at that top pairing spot this season.

The Lightning enter the game with the same batch of injuries they’ve had over the last couple weeks. Andrei Vasilevskiy is definitely out for tonight’s game. Anton Stralman wasn’t at morning skate so he will likely miss tonight as well. If he’s still unable to play, that means Erik Cernak will get his seventh NHL game tonight.

Ondrej Palat appears to be closest to returning. He participated in morning skate but wasn’t part of line rushes so that suggests he’s not quite ready yet. But If he is ready to go, the coaches will have a tough decision to make about who to remove from the lineup.

Comparison chart:

The Devils are an interesting team, especially in the context of who they were for so many years during the Lou Lamoriello regime. Previously the low-event leaders, they are now a high-paced team with lots of action happening at both ends of the ice. They get the better of the shot and expected goal share though and have been a good team this year despite their place in the standings. Their offensive production has been suppressed a bit by a poor shooting percentage and if that corrects, they should start getting some better results.

The Lightning remain one of the best 5v5 teams in the NHL but where special teams were a strength at the beginning of the year, they now have issues in that area. The power play is still clicking thanks to all the high end offensive talent on the roster but over the last ten games, the penalty kill has returned to its abominable form from its lowest points last season. The penalty killers are yielding tons of shots. They aren’t the most dangerous shots but the volume is untenable and the goaltending has been terrible at 4v5 over the last few weeks, which isn’t helping.

This is a rematch of a one-sided first-round playoff series from April. The Lightning closed out the Devils in five games. Earlier this season, the Bolts put eight goals on New Jersey. The shots and expected goals weren’t that lopsided but Tampa had one of those games where they finish every chance. That’s quite a bit of frustration the Devils have experience at the hands of the Lightning recently.

Tonight at Amalie, the Devils will be looking for some revenge and the Lightning should be prepared for a motivated team.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

J.T. Miller - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph

Adam Erne - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Danick Martel - Ondrej Palat (injured)

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Slater Koekkoe - Anton Stralman (injured)

Goaltenders

Louis Domingue

Eddie Pasquale

New Jersey Devils

Forward Lines

Taylor Hall - Nico Hischier - Kyle Palmieri

Marcus Johansson - Pavel Zacha - Jesper Bratt

Blake Coleman - Travis Zajac - Miles Wood

Brian Boyle - Brent Seney - Jean-Sebastien Dea

Defense Pairings

Mirco Mueller - Sami Vatanen

Andy Greene - Damon Severson

Will Butcher - Ben Lovejoy

Goalies

Keith Kinkaid

Cory Schneider