Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Opponent SBNation Site: Lighthouse Hockey
After one of the best games of the season on Saturday, the Lightning play again at Amalie Arena tonight. This time, they host the New York Islanders who currently sit in second place in the Metro Division once again defying projections and putting together an impressive start to the season under head coach Barry Trotz.
The Isles got off to a hot start this season but have cooled a bit lately going 5-4-1 in their last ten games. That hot start is enough to keep them in second place in a tough division for now. And they still have two games in hand. Much like last year, they’ve posted mediocre shot metrics but have been buoyed by excellent goaltending. That’s usually not a sustainable approach especially when the team switched goaltenders over the summer but so far, they’ve been able to sustain it.
The Lightning made some roster moves this morning recalling forwards Cory Conacher and Mitchell Stephens from Syracuse. As Geo noted when the news broke, Tyler Johnson missed the last half of the third period of Saturday night’s game. The team later announced that he has a lower body injury and will likely miss at least a few games. He’s meeting with the doctors today and the team will know more after that.
The team also confirmed that Stephens will make his debut tonight. Interestingly, he was rotating in and out with Mathieu Joseph on the fourth line during practice while Conacher skated on the third line with Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn. That suggests that Joseph will be healthy scratched tonight. That would be quite a surprise as even though he hasn’t been scoring much, his play driving has still been strong.
The addition of Stephens to the fourth line created an opportunity for Yanni Gourde to bump up to playing on Steven Stamkos’ wing opposite Carter Verhaeghe. That’s an extremely fun line including a former number one draft pick and two wingers who had to make their way through the ECHL to get to this level.
On the blue line, it looks like Luke Schenn will get back into the lineup and Jan Rutta will sit. Rutta had a pretty good game against the Sharks but the coaches seem content to rotate him with Schenn depending on matchups.
Curtis McElhinney will get the start tonight. That’s a bit surprising considering how good Vasilevskiy was in his last game but it looks like the coaches want their started for the divisonal matchup against the Panthers in Sunrise tomorrow.
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)
New York Islanders
Ross Johnston - Mat Barzal - Josh Bailey
Anthony Beauvillier - Brock Nelson - Michael Dal Colle
Anders Lee - Derick Brassard - Jordan Eberle
Matt Martin - Casey Cizikas - Cal Clutterbuck
Noah Dobson - Johnny Boychuk
Adam Pelech - Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews - Scott Mayfield