Time: 8:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: PPG Paints Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN, SN, TVAS
Opponent SBNation Site: Pensburgh
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:
Going to redo this. The original tweet is WRONG.#Pens goals allowed last six games:— Wes Crosby (@OtherNHLCrosby) January 29, 2019
-- 4 to the Ducks on Jan. 11
-- 5 to the Kings on Jan. 12
-- 5 to the Sharks on Jan. 15
-- 2 to the Coyotes on Jan. 18
-- 7 to the Golden Knights on Jan. 19
-- 6 (so far) to the Devils tonight
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:
Lalonde said Tyler Johnson is healthy and will be in the lineup at Pittsburgh. Johnson missed the San Jose game w/ a lower-body injury. "He said his biggest test was testing it at pace and speed and that was early yesterday and he looked pretty good." #Bolts— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) January 29, 2019
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:
Lightning asst. coach Derek Lalonde said after practice today the coaching staff hasn't come to a conclusion whether to continue with defensive rotation. Wanted to use these 2 days of practice like a mini-camp. Will re-examine rotation as they prepare for PIT on Wed. #Bolts— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) January 29, 2019
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
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
Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Anton Stralman
Scratched: Braydon Coburn
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Dominik Simon
Bryan Rust - Evgeni Malkin - Phil Kessel
Tanner Pearson - Derrick Brassard - Patric Hornqvist
Riley Sheahan - Matt Cullen - Garrett Wilson
Brian Dumolin - Kris Letang
Olli Maatta - Juuso Riikola
Marcus Pettersson - Jack Johnson