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
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)
Victor Hedman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Luke Schenn
Jan Rutta (scratched), Braydon Coburn (injured)
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
Mackenzie Weegar - Aaron Ekblad
Keith Yandle - Anton Stralman
Michael Matheson - Josh Brown