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Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning preview: Can the Bolts and Nikita Kucherov both hit 90 points tonight?

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Who knew the Stars were having so much trouble scoring?

NHL: Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME 58

Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: SUN, FS-SW, SN1, SNE, SNP

Opponent SBNation Site: Defending Big D

Preview:

25 points separate the Dallas Stars from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the standings. With a win tonight, the Bolts will be the first team to hit the 90-point plateau this season. But despite the Stars having an up-and-down season, they come into Tampa having won five of their last seven games.

After the confusion at morning skate on Tuesday that resulted in players shuffled between all three Lightning organizations, things settled down yesterday. Mathieu Joseph was sent down to Syracuse as a paper transaction, but was recalled and should return to the lineup tonight. Ondrej Palat and Erik Cernak were active participants in practice, and their returns look imminent.

As for the Stars, Ben Bishop remains out with an injury, so Anton Khudobin will get fourth straight start. Dallas will likely dress the same lineup they used against Florida, but with one minor change:

The Lightning looked lethal against Calgary on Tuesday. Four players had multi-point nights and the offense has awoken. However, the Stars have allowed the second-least amount of goals this season. Bishop and Khudobin have been a formidable tandem all season — getting saves hasn’t been Dallas’ problem. Plus, Khudobin just shutout the Panthers on Tuesday.

But the Bolts have Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has a nearly identical save percentage to both Bishop and Khudobin. Though the Stars may be getting the saves, they do struggle to score. They’re third-last in goals for this season. Trying to get one or two past Vasilevskiy may be a tall task. It’s not impossible, since they have the offensive talents of Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov. But Seguin, who leads the Stars in scoring with 54 points, is miles behind the Lightning’s (and NHL’s) leading scorer. Nikita Kucherov is two points shy of 90, and he could very well hit that tonight.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

Yanni Gourde - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

J.T. Miller - Steven Stamkos - Tyler Johnson

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Adam Erne

Mathieu Joseph - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan

Injured: Ondrej Palat

Defense

Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi

Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev

Injured: Erik Cernak

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

Dallas Stars

Forwards

Roope Hintz - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov

Jamie Benn - Jason Dickinson - Blake Comeau

Andrew Cogliano - Jason Spezza - Brett Ritchie

Mattias Janmark - Radek Faksa - Denis Gurianov

Scratched: Julius Honka, Valeri Nichushkin

Injured: Tyler Pitlick, Martin Hanzal

Defense

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg

Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak

Jamie Oleksiak - Taylor Fedun

Scratched: Connor Carrick

Injured: Marc Methot, Stephen Johns

Goalies

Anton Khudobin

Landon Bow

Injured: Ben Bishop