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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Buffalo Sabres: The NHL Global Series continues in Sweden

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The first of a two game series.

2019 NHL Global Series - Sweden - Team Practices Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Buffalo Sabres: Game 14

Time: 2:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Ericsson Globe

Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN

Opponent SBNation Site: Die By the Blade

Preview:

This afternoon, the Lightning and Sabres start their two game series in Sweden. If you, like me, will be stuck at work during the game, don’t worry. We’ll bring you a recap here at Raw Charge after the game with all the highlights.

The Lightning enter this game off to a slow start to the season. Their record isn’t awful but their statistical profile has not been good. They’ve managed 14 points in 13 games despite being 21st in the NHL in 5v5 expected goal share.

We’ve been writing all week about the struggles, which show up mostly on the offensive end where the Bolts have been significantly worse than last year. Their starts haven’t been able to play up to the normal standard and the depth players haven’t been able to compensate for that.

The Sabres are in the midst of another good start to a season that looks just as unsustainable as last season’s big winning streak. They currently have 20 points in 15 games, which puts them ahead of the Lightning. But their statistical profile is even worse. They’re currently 26th in 5v5 expected goal share.

The most interesting part of this matchup between teams with below average shot metrics is that they’ve been bouyed by opposing early season strengths. The Lightning have ridden a high shooting percentage to keep themselves competitive. Meanwhile, the Sabres have been powered by a high save percentage from Carter Hutton. Those two team strengths will go head to head over the next couple days.

In terms of players playing in front of their home fans, the Lightning only have one but he happens to be one of the most popular players in Sweden: Victor Hedman. The Sabres are stacked with Swedes including Rasmus Dahlin, Victor Olofsson, Johan Larsson, Marcus Johansson, Lawrence Pilu and their backup goaltender Linus Ullmark who will get the start this afternoon.

After a week of speculate Lightning head coach Jon Cooper confirmed this morning that Victor Hedman will be available to play in the game today. This is great news for the team who needs him back at the top of the blue line. But it’s also great news for Hedman who gets to play NHL games in his home country.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Alex Volkov

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph

Pat Maroon - Cedric Paquette - Yanni Gourde

Carter Verhaeghe

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Seregachev - Luke Schenn

Braydon Coburn - Jan Rutta

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Buffalo Sabres

Forward Lines

Victor Olofsson - Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner - Marcus Johansson - Vladimir Sobotka

Zemgus Girgensons - Johan Larsson - Kyle Okposo

Connor Sheary - Casey Mittelstadt - Jimmy Vesey

Evan Rodrigues

Defense Pairings

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Ristolainen

Rasmus Dahlin - Brandon Montour

Henri Jokiharju - Colin Miller

John Gilmour - Lawrence Pilut

Goalies

Linus Ullmark

Carter Hutton