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Anaheim Ducks at Tampa Bay Lightning preview: Homecomings, injuries, and more injuries

Former Lightning defensemen Andrej Sustr and Jake Dotchin return to Tampa for the first time since leaving the Bay Area.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Anaheim Ducks Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Anaheim Ducks at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME 25

Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: SunS, PRIME, NHL TV

Opponent SBNation Site: Anaheim Calling

Preview:

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

Forwards

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

Defense

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Slater Koekkoek

Injured: Anton Stralman

Goalies

Louis Domingue

Edward Pasquale

Injured: Andrei Vasilevskiy

Anaheim Ducks

Forwards

Rickard Rakell - Ryan Getzlaf - Jakob Silfverberg

Nick Ritchie - Adam Henrique - Ondrej Kase

Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Kiefer Sherwood

Ben Street - Kalle Kossila - Pontus Aberg

Brian Gibbons

Injured: Corey Perry, Carter Rowney, Patrick Eaves, Kevin Roy

Defense

Jacob Larsson - Josh Manson

Brandon Montour - Andrej Sustr

Marcus Petterson - Jake Dotchin

Andy Welinski

Injured: Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Korbinian Holzer

Goalies

John Gibson

Ryan Miller