Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Prudential Center
Opponent SBNation Site: All About The Jersey
The last game was a night to forgot for the Tampa Bay Lightning. A game that could have been considered an easy one turned into a nightmare. The Lightning had to deal with injuries, which occurred before the start of the game when it was announced that Anthony Cirelli and Brayden Point were game time decisions. Point eventually played, Cirelli didn’t and has been listed as a day-to-day. The things got complicated when the team lost Pat Maroon and Victor Hedman during the game; same as Cirelli, both have been given a day-to-day status.
Considering that the next game is tonight, it’s not likely that these players will be ready for the game. It hasn’t been announced officially yet, but hockey agent Dan Milstein posted on his twitter account that forward Alex Volkov has been recalled from the Syracuse Crunch. Volkov was very close to make the team at the start of the season, but got an injury during one of the last preseason games. He played three games for the Crunch and posted three assists. He can make his NHL debut tonight.
It will be interesting to see what line combinations the Lightning coaching staff will choose for tonight’s game with both Carter Verhaeghe and Volkov on the Bolts roster. Last night Verhaeghe played just about eight minutes on the third line, mostly with Yanni Gourde and Mathieu Joseph. With Pat Maroon out, he can be moved to the fourth line and Volkov can play on the third line. Jan Rutta will fill in at Hedman’s place on the blueline.
Andrei Vasilevslkiy played the first leg of back-to-back games and Curtis McElhinney is expected to start tonight against the New Jersey Devils.
Speaking of the Devils, they are currently the worst team in the whole league with 6 points, although it’s true that they played fewer games than their closest opponents. Before the start of the season some experts predicted that team could compete for a playoff spot, but after seven losses in first ten games it’s very unlikely that the trend will change. Their situation is very similar to the New York Rangers: latest summer’s acquisitions haven’t worked out yet and their young players still don’t ready for the NHL level.
Jack Hughes needs time to adapt to the professional level, however he has started to look better recently. Former Tampa Bay prospect Nikita Gusev finally made a NHL debut, but his numbers through first ten games were terrible. He’s one of the worst player in the league with a Corsi For of 34.55% and expected goals of 28.26%. As it was reported yesterday, he will be a healthy scratch for tonight’s game and will watch it from the players box with Patrik Elias.
Fair to say that the whole team looks overall bad, with even Taylor Hall having a negative Corsi For %. The Devils special units are also ranked very low.
During the last season, the Tampa Bay Lightning swept the season series against the Devils 3-0, outscoring the opponent 18-6.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Steven Stamkos - Tyler Johnson - Alex Killorn
Mathieu Joseph - Yanni Gourde - Alex Volkov
Carter Verhaeghe - Cedric Paquette - Luke Witkowski
Injured: Anthony Cirelli, Patrick Maroon
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Braydon Coburn - Kevin Shattenkirk
Mikhail Sergachev - Jan Rutta
Injured: Victor Hedman
New Jersey Devils
Taylor Hall - Jack Hughes - Kyle Palmieri
Pavel Zacha - Nico Hischier - Jesper Bratt
Blake Coleman - Travis Zajac - Wayne Simmonds
Miles Wood - Kevin Rooney - John Hayden
Scratched: Nikita Gusev, Jesper Boquist
Damon Severson - P.K. Subban
Andy Greene - Sami Vatanen
Will Butcher - Mirco Mueller