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Tampa Bay Lightning at San Jose Sharks preview: Late night fun

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Two of the best teams in the NHL meet in San Jose.

NHL: San Jose Sharks at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning at San Jose Sharks: Game 42

Time: 11:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: SAP Center

Broadcast/Streaming: SunS, NSCA

Opponent SBNation Site: Fear the Fin

Preview:

The Lightning conclude their California road trip in San Jose tonight against the Sharks. The game starts at the unreasonable hour of 11PM on the east coast. If you can’t make it up that late, we’ll have a recap ready for you in the morning.

Last game against the Sharks was a one-sided mismatch. This game is the opposite. The Sharks are one of the best teams in the NHL. They aren’t as high in the standings as they deserve to be due to some poor goaltending early in the season, but lately they’ve been stacking up points and have climbed to third in the Pacific. They’re three points behind Vegas with two games in hand.

San Jose made the biggest offseason acquisition by landing Erik Karlsson from the Senators. All Karlsson has done since joining the team is have one of the best seasons of his career so far. He also had his early season numbers sunk by poor goaltending but things have been correcting for him as well over the last couple months. He currently sits fourth in WAR and third in expected goal impacts according to Evolving Hockey. That puts him firmly in the Norris conversation.

The Lightning come into this game having not lost in their last sixteen games. They are at the top of the heap among NHL teams but will get a big test from the Sharks tonight. They’ll likely face that test without defender Erik Cernak. If the team continues its rotation, tonight will be his night off. That means Anton Stralman will be on the second pair with Ryan McDonagh.

Among the forwards, J.T. Miller is still listed as week-to-week with his injury according to head coach Jon Cooper. That means Adam Erne and Mathieu Joseph will remain in the lineup tonight. Nikita Kucherov has scored in twelve straight games and will look to continue that to a lucky thirteen tonight.

This should be an exciting game between two of the best teams in the NHL. They currently sit second and third in 5v5 expected goal share behind Carolina. Both teams have tons of skill and play at a fast pace. It’s too bad the NHL couldn’t anticipate that and make this game at a better time for a national audience. Instead, get ready for some Lightning After Dark.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Adam Erne

Mathieu Joseph - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

J.T. Miller (injured) - Danick Martel

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi

Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn - Victor Hedman

Erik Cernak

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

San Jose Sharks

Forward Lines

Lukas Radil - Logan Couture - Timo Meier

Marcus Sorensen - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski

Evander Kane - Tomas Hertl - Joonas Donskoi

Melker Karlsson - Barclay Goodrow - Kevin Labanc

Defense Pairings

Joakim Ryan - Brent Burns

Brenden Dillon - Erik Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun

Goalies

Martin Jones

Aaron Dell