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Tampa Bay Lightning at New Jersey Devils: These guys again?

The Lightning and Devils meet for the second time in eight days.

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

Tampa Bay Lightning at New Jersey Devils: Game 28

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Prudential Center

Broadcast/Streaming: SunS, MSG+, NHL

Opponent SBNation Site: All About the Jersey

Preview:

For the second time in eight days, the Lightning face the New Jersey Devils. This time, the game will take place in Jersey instead of Florida, which is nice, I guess. Last time the two teams met, the Lightning won 5-2. In a previous meeting earlier in the season, the Bolts won 8-3. That combined with quickly dispatching New Jersey in five games means the Lightning have had the Devils’ number recently.

Tampa will enter the game without Anton Stralman. He’ll be evaluated later this week. Erik Cernak will continue to play in his place. Among the forwards, Adam Erne is the only remaining player whose health is in question. Ondrej Palat returned to the lineup last week and has been playing with Steven Stamkos and Yanni Gourde on the 1B line.

The biggest injury affecting the bolts remains the one to Andrei Vasilevskiy. Louis Domingue has now started ten consecutive games and the workload is starting to take its toll. He’s struggled the last two games, relying on the offense to bail him out after getting the team in early trouble.

On Sunday, the team recalled goalie Eddie Pasquale from Syracuse. With the Lightning playing back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday, it looks like Pasquale might get his first career NHL game in the next couple days. With Domingue struggling so much, Pasquale getting this game against the Devils wouldn’t be a surprise. But in a perfect world, Domingue would be able to hold on for one more game so that Pasquale can face the weaker Detroit Red Wings tomorrow.

The Devils remain mostly a one-line team much like last year. Taylor Hall, Nico Hischier, and Jesper Bratt have been great. They get some support from the second line. Kyle Palmieri in particular has stood out this year. But after that, the depth gets dicey. And they remain weak on the blue line with Damon Severson being their best performer despite his place on the second pair.

The Devils lack of depth is what makes the Lightning such a bad matchup for them. The Brayden Point line typically matches up against the Hall line and as long as they break even in those minutes, the Lightning are in good shape because they should get the better of the rest of the matchups between the other three lines.

Comparison chart:

The Devils continue to look good on paper despite not getting the results they would like. They currently sit last in the Metropolitan Division but deserve a fate better than that. Their expected goal share remains near the top of the league but they’ve been sunk by bad shooting luck both at 5v5 and on the power play. If they keep playing like this, things should turn around for them eventually.

They Lightning are a good team at 5v5. The penalty kill continues to give up way too many shots. But the big problem over the last ten games has been goaltending. We discussed it above but this shows the impact in distinct terms. Both at 5v5 and on the penalty kill, Domingue has given up more goals than would be expected. Maybe this is the night the Devils’ start to turn around their shooting percentage woes.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller

Mathie Joseph - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Adam Erne - Danick Martel

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Slater Koekkoek - Anton Stralman (injured)

Goaltenders

Louis Domingue

Eddie Pasquale

New Jersey Devils

Forward Lines

Taylor Hall - Nico Hischier - Jesper Bratt

Marcus Johansson - Pavel Zacha - Kyle Palmieri

Blake Coleman - Travis Zajac - Brent Seney

Miles Wood - Brian Boyle - Stefan Noesen

Defense Pairings

Mirco Mueller - Sami Vatanen

Andy Greene - Damon Severson

Will Butcher - Ben Lovejoy

Goalies

Keith Kinkaid

Cory Schneider