Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: NHLN, Fox Sports Sun
Opponent SBNation Site: Japers’ Rink
It’s been almost 10 months since the last meeting of these teams in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Lightning were defeated in the seventh game and the Capitals went on to win the Stanley Cup. Currently, both teams lead their divisions and are among the favorites to win the Stanley Cup Final this year.
It’s also their first meeting this season. For some reason, all three of their games will be played in the next two weeks. This is a great opportunity for both teams to take a closer look at potential playoff opponent.
The Capitals had a little slump back in January, but it seems to be over now. They are getting ready to play in the postseason and have won eight of their ten last games, scoring at least three goals per game during this stretch.
Alex Ovechkin leads the whole league with 46 goals but has been quiet lately. The Caps also added some depth to their blueline and penalty kill units at the Trade Deadline. Carl Hagelin was having a rough season and was traded twice, but fits perfectly on his new team so far. Nick Jensen, who was acquired from Detroit Red Wings, is now playing on the third pair. The team management probably hopes he can follow Michal Kempny, whom they acquired before the Trade Deadline and became an important player during their playoff run.
The turnaround started earlier last year but the 2018-19 Washington Capitals are rehashing last year's script, getting their game in order just before the playoffs. pic.twitter.com/Jkkn8w665D— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) March 15, 2019
The Lightning blueline is still missing two players. Anton Stralman and Dan Girardi are still listed as a day-to-day with a lower body injury and it’s undetermined if they will return for tonight’s game. Jan Rutta will probably get another chance to play. His time on ice has increased since his first game for Tampa and he even recorded two assists against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Andrei Vasilevskiy didn’t play his best game against the Red Wings and will likely start against the Capitals to get his confidence back.
Both teams are looking strong recently, so it’s fair to expect them to show their best hockey meaning we could see lots of goals tonight.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - J.T. Miller
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph
Adam Erne - Cedric Paquette - Yanni Gourde
Scratched: Danick Martel, Ryan Callahan
Victor Hedman - Mikhail Sergachev
Ryan McDonagh - Eric Cernak
Braydon Coburn - Jan Rutta
Injuries: Anton Stralman, Dan Girardi
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Brett Connolly
Andre Burakovsky - Chandler Stephenson - Travis Boyd
Michal Kempny - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Nick Jensen