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Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins preview: Welcome back from the break!

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From here on out, it’s the road to the playoffs.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins: GAME 50

Time: 8:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: PPG Paints Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN, SN, TVAS

Opponent SBNation Site: Pensburgh

Preview:

Welcome to Game 50, Lightning fans!

There are 32 games left until the end of the regular season. Tampa Bay had won 5 of their last 7 games leading up to the bye-week-slash-All-Star-break, which was concluded by a decisive 6-3 victory over San Jose.

The Bolts have had ten days off, which has to be a record for the longest break since the NHL introduced the bye-week. They face a Pittsburgh Penguins squad that has played one game since coming back from their bye-week (a 6-3 loss to New Jersey). The Penguins have had an up-and-down season — they went on an eight-game winning streak at the end of December, but have only three wins in their last eight games. They’ve struggled lately, not only with slow starts, but keeping the puck out of their net:

That should be a recipe for success for their opponents, especially Tampa Bay, who leads the league with the most goals scored this season (one shy of 200). And even though plus-minus is a pretty terrible stat to reference, it’s pretty shocking that Evgeni Malkin is minus-20 on the season.

The Lightning come out of the break with good news on the injury front — Tyler Johnson will return to the lineup:

Also, the Bolts’ blueline has been in a bit of a blender rotation lately, with the team carrying seven defensemen. Assistant coach Derek Lalonde addressed that situation yesterday:

According to line rushes in practice, Coburn was the extra defenseman, so it’s likely his turn to sit out a game.

It should be a great game, despite the Pens’ struggles as of late. And if you’re tuning in to watch this game on NBC tomorrow, you’ll get an extra-special treat:

Congratulations, Kendall! We’re all rooting you on here at Raw Charge — you’ll do great.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - J.T. Miller

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde

Adam Erne - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Scratched: Mathieu Joseph, Danick Martel

Defense

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Anton Stralman

Scratched: Braydon Coburn

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

Pittsburgh Penguins

Forwards

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Dominik Simon

Bryan Rust - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel

Tanner Pearson - Derrick Brassard - Patric Hornqvist

Riley Sheahan - Matt Cullen - Garrett Wilson

Defense

Brian Dumolin - Kris Letang

Olli Maatta - Juuso Riikola

Marcus Pettersson - Jack Johnson

Chad Ruhwedel

Goalies

Matt Murray

Casey DeSmith