Time: 4:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Canadian Tire Centre
Broadcast/Streaming: TVAS2, SUN
Opponent SBNation Site: Silver Seven
The Tampa Bay Lightning avoided overreacting to their slow start of the season by winning the road game against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. Brayden Point returned just in time and not only added what the Bolts were missing in theire first three games, but already showed why he was considered one of the best RFAs during the last offseason.
Jon Cooper combined his most dangerous weapons together by putting Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov on the same line. Together, they scored 11 points and were the key factor to winning the game against the Leafs. They probably won’t stay together for most of the season and Cooper will try new combinations to reach more balance between his lines, as it was during the last season. But this line is fun to watch while it lasts.
Cedric Paquette isn’t expected to return on this road trip, but he participated in his first full practice with the team wearing a red no-contact jersey. The team decided still not to call anyone from the Syracuse Crunch, which means Luke Witkowski stays on the fourth line at least until Paquette is back with the team.
Tonight’s opponent is the Ottawa Senators, the worst team in the Eastern Conference. The Sens still have zero wins after three games, although it should be mentioned that their schedule has been quite hard. They already played against the Leafs and the Stanley Cup winner St. Louis Blues.
The Senators are still in rebuilding mode. After trading their big stars like Mark Stone, they replaced some depth players, adding Nikita Zaitsev, Ron Hainsey, Tyler Ennis and Connor Brown from the Leafs. Recently, the Sens acquired former Lightning player Vladislav Namestnikov from the New York Rangers. This should be good news for Vladdy who has obviously been a little bit frustrated with his lack of playing time in New York.
The Lightning won their last two games against the Senators last season, scoring five goals both times. They have also scored four or more goals in their last six matchups, so it is fair to expect plenty of goals tonight. After playing in Ottawa, the Bolts will play two more games on the road before heading back to Amalie Arena on next Saturday.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Mathieu Joseph - Tyler Johnson - Yanni Gourde
Patrick Maroon - Carter Verhaeghe - Luke Witkowski
Injured: Cedric Paquette
Victor Hedman - Braydon Coburn
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk
Scratced: Jan Rutta
Brady Tkachuk - Colin White - Tyler Ennis
Anthony Duclair - Chris Tierney - Bobby Ryan
Vladislav Namestnikov - Artem Anisimov - Connor Brown
Vitaly Abramov - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Scott Sabourin
Thomas Chabot - Nikita Zaitsev
Erik Brannstrom - Ron Hainsey
Mark Borowiecki - Dylan Demelo