Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: Fox Sports Sun
Opponent SBNation Site: Anaheim Calling
The Tampa Bay Lightning are coming back to Amalie Arena from a short road trip on which they got half of the possible points following a victory over the Chicago Blackhawks and a loss to St. Louis Blues. They will spend the next three games at home, including tonight’s matchup against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Lightning lost two key players during the trip: Nikita Kucherov played just 11 minutes against the Blues and Steven Stamkos stayed on the bench during the last two periods of the game against Chicago. Kucherov was expected to return on Thursday, but still wasn’t ready to dress for the game. At morning skate, Kucherov was on the ice but Stamkos was not. That doesn’t necessarily tell us anything about their statuses but as of this article’s writing, Kucherov looks more likely than Stamkos to play. Either way, expect both to be game time decisions.
Kucherov is on the ice for morning skate, Stamkos is not.— Caley Chelios (@CaleyChelios) November 23, 2019
The Lightning started their last game with an 11-forward/ 7-defensemen lineup which eventually turned into 10/6 lineup after Stamkos’ injury. If the captain isn’t ready for Saturday’s game, Carter Verhaeghe could take his place on the roster and Cory Conacher will likely play another game for the Bolts.
After sitting during the game against the Blackhawks, Andrei Vasilevskiy will return to the net. Vasilevskiy is one the Bolts who still needs to find his game if they want this season to be successful. He has a negative goals saved above expected rate while having a low amount of expected goals the opposing team generates, which essentially means that Vasilevskiy is not good enough despite not facing a lot of dangerous shots. The following chart from Sean Tierney accurately illustrates it.
The Ducks started their trip to Florida with an overtime loss against the Florida Panthers. That was already the seventh loss in the last eight games. The start of the season was much better for the Ducks, they were amongst the leading group in the Pacific Division until November but then started slowly falling down. It’s also displayed by their numbers: both special teams are among the worst in the league and their numbers at 5v5 are not great either.
The Ducks have also faced a lot of injuries. It was announced before the season that Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves are out for the whole year. It’s also not determined whether Hampus Lindholm could play against the Bolts. The Swedish blueliner has already missed eight games. Josh Manson, another defenceman, has also been missing since early November.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde
Carter Verhaeghe - Tyler Johnson - Cory Conacher
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph
Patrick Maroon - Cedric Paquette
Injured: Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos
Victor Hedman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Jan Rutta
Scratched: Luke Schenn
Rickard Rackell - Ryan Getzlaf - Troy Terry
Max Jones - Adam Henrique - Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie - Sam Steel - Ondrej Kase
Nicolas Deslauriers - Derek Grant - Carter Rowney
Brendan Guhle - Cam Fowler
Josh Mahura - Erik Gudbranson
Jacob Larsson - Michael Del Zotto
Injuried: Josh Manson, Hampus Lindholm