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Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators preview: Keeping the good times rolling

Looking ahead in the Atlantic Division.

NHL: JAN 02 Lightning at Canadiens
MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 02: Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) celebrates his goal during the Tampa Bay Lightning versus the Montreal Canadiens game on January 02, 2020, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC
Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators: Game 40
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Canadian Tire Centre
Broadcast/Streaming: RDS, TSN2
Opponent SBNation Site: Silver Seven Sens

The Tampa Bay Lightning have won five in a row dating back to December 23rd, and have gotten points in seven of their last eight games. Six of those seven games were wins, all against divisional opponents. By beating up on the Atlantic Division for a handful of games, the Bolts now find themselves in a playoff spot, right behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and a stone’s throw away from the Boston Bruins.

After a sluggish start to the season, the Lightning find themselves right back where they want to be, and it’s barely 2020.

Looking ahead, the Leafs are three points ahead with the Lightning owning three games in hand. Both teams have used different ways to get to very similar records, being only one off from each other in wins, losses, overtime losses, regulation wins, and overtime wins. If the Leafs can stay as hot as they are, it’ll be a dogfight for the Lightning as to who gets home-ice advantage.

That’s not to say the Bruins have run away with the division, not at all. The Bruins only have two more wins than the Lightning in three more games played. The reason why there is an 11-point gap between the two teams is that the Bruins have managed to take the majority of their losses to overtime (where they are 2-5) or the shootout (0-6). In their last 10, the Bruins are 4-1-5, so they’ve been great at picking up points, even in losses.

The flip side to all this is their play on the ice is that of a middling team while their results have out-shone them massively. In terms of shot metrics, the Bruins are around 50-51% in shots and scoring chances at 5v5. They’ve used the league’s highest on-ice save percentage and second-highest PDO (save percentage plus shooting percentage) to outperform their expected goal numbers by 7% (50% to 57%). Whether they come down to Earth now or later, their luck will run out eventually.

So look forward, Bolts fans, this season isn’t even halfway finished yet.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos
Carter Verhaeghe - Tyler Johnson - Mitchell Stephens
Pat Maroon - Cedric Paquette - Yanni Gourde

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk
Scratched: Braydon Coburn, Luke Schenn


Andrei Vasilevskiy
Curtis McElhinney

Ottawa Senators

From their last game

Forward Lines

Brady Tkachuk - Chris Tierney - Anthony Duclair
Nick Paul - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Connor Brown
Rudolfs Balcers - Colin White - Tyler Ennis
Vladislav Namestnikov - Artem Anisimov - Scott Sabourin

Defense Pairings

Thomas Chabot - Cody Goloubef
Mark Borowiecki - Christian Jaros
Andreas Englund - Erik Brannstrom


Craig Anderson
Marcus Hogberg

Anderson will start tonight. Mike Reilly will replace Erik Brannstrom, who has been sent back to the Belleville Senators. Anthony Duclair is a game-time decision. We’ll share the final lineup when it becomes available closer to game time.