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Tampa Bay Lightning at Florida Panthers preview: The Battle of Florida

The matchup of two struggling Russian goaltenders

Florida Panthers v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Florida Panthers Game 29

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: BB&T Center

Broadcast/Streaming: Fox Sports Sun

Opponent SBNation Site: Little Box Cats


The Tampa Bay Lightning continue to bring inconsistent results. After an impressive victory over the San Jose Sharks, the team frustratingly lost to the New York Islanders last night. Their next opponent also isn’t going to be an easy matchup as the games against the Florida Panthers are always tight.

As it was reported yesterday, Tyler Johnson will miss at least a couple of games. Cory Conacher and Mitchell Stephens replaced him and Mathieu Joseph, who has been given a day off, in the lineup. Stephens played mostly with Conacher and Carter Verhaeghe and had 58,82 CF%, which is a solid number for an NHL debut. We won’t probably get lines till the start of tonight’s game, but as Jon Cooper mentioned, he liked the Stephens line yesterday and they will be probably be given another chance today. Andrei Vasilevskiy is also returning to the net after Curtis McElhinney played yesterday.

Both teams tonight have pretty similar numbers: both have strong power play units and almost the same possession stats, although the Panthers look better on the penalty kill. The two teams also share a quite similar problem - weak goaltending. We’ve already mentioned several times that Andrei Vasilevskiy has been a below average goaltender this season. He is currently at 40th place in the league with -2.02 GSAA (goals saved above average) according to Evolving Hockey. Sergei Bobrovsky has even worse numbers, he is 67th with -10.87 GSAA. These numbers are very concerning for the teams, since both Russian goaltenders signed big contracts last summer. However, both goalies played great last weekend. Bobrovsky made 63 stops against the San Jose Sharks and his former team the Columbus Blue Jackets and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 37 saves against the Sharks.

This will be the third meeting between the Lightning and the Panthers this season. Each team recorded one win so far in those games.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Carter Verhaeghe - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Cory Conacher

Pat Maroon - Cedric Paquette - Mitchell Stephens

Mathieu Joseph (scratched), Tyler Johnson (injured)

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Luke Schenn

Jan Rutta (scratched), Braydon Coburn (injured)


Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Florida Panthers

Forward Lines

Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Evgenii Dadonov

Mike Hoffman - Vincent Trocheck - Brett Connolly

Frank Vatrano - Aleksi Saarela - Noel Acciari

Dominic Toninato - Brian Boyle - Colton Sceviour

Injured: Jayce Hawryluk

Defense Pairings

Mackenzie Weegar - Aaron Ekblad

Keith Yandle - Anton Stralman

Michael Matheson - Josh Brown


Sergei Bobrovsky

Chris Driedger