Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: SunS, FSSE
Opponent SBNation Site: Canes Country
This is gonna be fun. Two teams with plenty of pace and tons of skill face off tonight when the Carolina Hurricanes come to Amalie Arena to play the Tampa Bay Lightning. It’s obvious that the Lightning are good, they have the results to prove it.
That the Hurricanes are good is less obvious. They currently sit outside of a playoff spot and need to jump at least two teams to get back into contention. But their lack of wins is mostly due to some historically bad shooting. And at least some of that has to be bad luck. No team with as much talent as they have should be this bad at finishing.
The poor shooting is particularly cruel for a Carolina team that has struggled to get competent goaltending for years. This season, Curtis McIlhenney has been the surprising answer to their problems in net. But so far, it hasn’t mattered because the team is underperforming their expected shooting percentage by the widest margin in the modern stats era. And it isn’t close. They’re 2.34% below expected and the next worse team since 2007-2008 was the 2008-2009 Rangers at 1.47% below.
The Lighting will be hoping the correction doesn’t start tonight. They come in following a 4-0 shutout of the Columbus Blue Jackets in which the team was stellar defensively and Andrei Vasilevskiy sealed the deal by not allowing any of the few chances Columbus did get to end up in the net.
J.T. Miller skated in a regular jersey at practice today but is still likely out of the lineup tonight. Ryan Callahan missed last game with an upper body injury and was replaced by Danick Martel. According to the defensive rotation, tonight should be Mikhail Sergachev’s turn as a healthy scratch. But Braydon Coburn missing a game could cause a shuffle in the order.
The other change for the Lightning in Tuesday’s game was the lines. Head coach Jon Cooper swapped Alex Killorn and Yanni Gourde on the middle two lines. The move didn’t produce immediate results so it will be interesting to see if he sticks with the same lines, goes back to what worked previously, or tries something new.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Alex Killorn
Adam Erne - Anthony Cirelli - Yanni Gourde
Mathieu Joseph - Cedric Paquette - Danick Martel
J.T. Miller (injured) - Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Braydon Coburn - Anton Stralman
Brock McGinn - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen
Andrei Svechnikov - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook
Micheal Ferland - Greg McKegg - Justin Williams
Warren Foegele - Victor Rask - Saku Maenalanen
Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce
Calvin de Haan - Justin Faulk
Trevor van Riemsdyk - Dougie Hamilton