Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: SunS, PRIME, NHL TV
Opponent SBNation Site: Anaheim Calling
Tampa Bay hosts Anaheim in their fourth game of a five-game homestand in a tale of two injured teams. The Ducks and Lightning are at opposite ends of the standings right now. The Lightning defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-2 on Sunday, whereas the Ducks lost to the Nashville Predators by the same score. Tampa Bay’s four goal first period carried them to their eventual victory, and despite a large lead, they didn’t let the Devils take over and won their third straight game in a row. Brayden Point continued his impressive season and Louis Domingue was solid again in goal.
Looking at Anaheim, well, it shouldn’t be difficult to make it four-straight wins, but stranger things have happened. They allow a significant amount of shots on goal, and if they didn’t have John Gibson in net, they might allow a lot more goals as well. The Ducks held their own against the league-leading Predators in the first, but things began to unravel in the second and third periods. Nashville continued to pepper Gibson with shots and frustrations boiled over at the end of the second with ten minutes of penalties being awarded to both teams.
Steven Stamkos was shaken up by a cross-check on Sunday, and although he returned to the game, he missed Monday’s practice with what the team labelled as a ‘maintenance day’. Anton Stralman continues to recover from an upper-body injury and will be re-evaluated today. Ondrej Palat, who has been out of the lineup with an injury of his own, took Stamkos’ spot on the top line in practice on Monday and a return looks close. Vasilevskiy remains out, but Domingue hasn’t given the Lightning any reason to be concerned.
The Ducks struggles are well documented on-ice, but they’re also the most-injured team in the Pacific Division with eight players out of the lineup. Most notably, Anaheim is hurting without Corey Perry up front. Their blueline has been decimated with injuries to Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm. However, the injuries have allowed Andrej Sustr and Jake Dotchin to get into the Anaheim lineup and travel with the team to Tampa. Both will dress against their former team tonight and it should be interesting to see how they play - especially since Dotchin’s controversial departure from Tampa should give him something to prove.
This should be a game engineered for a Lightning victory - the Ducks rank 30th in puck possession, and their special teams are brutal. Although both teams are missing key players in their lineups, Tampa’s depth speaks for itself - Anaheim just doesn’t have the personnel to overcome their injuries, especially on their blueline. The Ducks have allowed the most shots in the entire league - one, because Randy Carlyle’s teams just do, and two, because their defense is really hurting without Fowler and Lindholm. If Tampa Bay puts pressure on Anaheim’s defense and rings up the shot clock, they should be well on their way to continuing their undefeated homestand.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Yanni Gourde - Steven Stamkos - J.T. Miller
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph
Adam Erne - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan
Injured: Ondrej Palat
Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev
Injured: Anton Stralman
Injured: Andrei Vasilevskiy
Rickard Rakell - Ryan Getzlaf - Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie - Adam Henrique - Ondrej Kase
Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Kiefer Sherwood
Ben Street - Kalle Kossila - Pontus Aberg
Injured: Corey Perry, Carter Rowney, Patrick Eaves, Kevin Roy
Jacob Larsson - Josh Manson
Brandon Montour - Andrej Sustr
Marcus Petterson - Jake Dotchin
Injured: Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Korbinian Holzer