Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Nationwide Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN, TVAS
Opponent SBNation Site: The Cannon
Before the start of the Playoffs, few people expected that the Tampa Bay Lightning would trail 0-2 to the Columbus Blue Jackets before heading to Ohio. Even after the Game 1 loss, most expected the Lighting to level the series because it felt like the Lightning just stopped playing after taking over a 3-0 lead. The expectation was that they’d learned a lesson and it wouldn’t happen again. But now it’s a reality and the team have to deal with it.
I’ve seen a lot of people comparing this situation to the last season’s playoffs, when the Jackets eventually lost to the Washington Capitals after leading 2-0 before coming to homestand. I think this is a little bit different, the Jackets have earned both wins last postseason in overtime, thanks to outstanding perfomance by Sergei Bobrovsky. This time, the Bolts were seemed nearly helpless in some situations, allowing unnecessary turnovers and not being able to convert any of their power plays at the Game 2.
Nikita Kucherov has been suspended for tonight’s game for an avoidable boarding of defenceman Markus Nutivaara. He should be happy that it’s just for one game, as some expected a multiple game suspension. Kucherov’s hit reflects the team’s frustration after Game 2, which was also showed when Victor Hedman exchanged some words with the Columbus bench and when Jon Cooper called this loss “a five-alarm fire“
"Victor Hedman comes over and says to the Columbus bench, 'You guys are really good at this. Last year you were up 2-0 too. How'd it end up?'"@NHLonNBCSports Inside-the-Glass analyst Pierre McGuire caught the exchange at the end of Columbus' 5-1 win vs. Tampa on Friday. pic.twitter.com/QXOP0XY4Qn— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) April 13, 2019
Before traveling to Columbus, the Lightning held an unplanned practice in Brandon. Anton Stralman didn’t participated again and Hedman was also absent. Per Jon Cooper, Hedman “got a little banged up last night” but hopefully will be ready for tonight’s game. Kucherov practiced with Danick Martel and will be replaced by Ryan Callahan during his suspension. Mathieu Joseph was promoted to the first line.
Jan Rutta was criticized by many fans after last game. He worked with Braydon Coburn on Saturday morning, so it’s hard to say if we’ll see changes on the blueline. Cameron Gaunce also re-joined the team from Syracuse this morning indicating that Hedman’s status is uncertain for tonight. If the Lightning are without both Kucherov and Hedman tonight, that would not bode well for the team’s chances to get back in the series tonight.
Cameron Gaunce in the building, may be insurance on D for #TBLightning. Hedman got “banged up” Friday. We should know more on his status today at optional skate— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) April 14, 2019
Meanwhile, the Columbus Blue Jackets signed russian defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov to an entry level deal. He will join the team as soon as he gets a U.S. work visa and will probably help his new team before the end of the series.
No big changes to the Jackets lineup are not expected for the Game 3.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Mathieu Joseph - Steven Stamkos - Yanni Gourde
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Tyler Johnson
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - JT Miller
Adam Erne - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan
Scratched: Danick Martel
Suspended: Nikita Kucherov
Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Jan Rutta
Scratched: Braydon Coburn
Injured: Anton Stralman
Columbus Blue Jackets
Artemi Panarin - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Cam Atkinson
Ryan Dzingel - Matt Duchene - Josh Anderson
Nick Foligno - Boone Jenner - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Alexandre Texier - Riley Nash - Brandon Dubinsky
Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
Markus Nutivaara - David Savard
Dean Kukan - Scott Harrington