Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Opponent SBNation Site: Eyes on the Prize
After losing to the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s chances to win the division and clinch the home-ice advantage for later playoffs rounds have drastically dropped. With 16 games left in the regular season, the Lightning are nine points behind the Bruins and it seems almost impossible to close that gap, although both teams still have one face-to-face meeting later this week.
No big changes on injury side. After a game against the Bruins, Jon Cooper confirmed that Steven Stamkos’ surgery went well and the timeline of his return didn’t change, which means that the Lightning captain won’t be available for the next 6-8 weeks. Ryan McDonagh is already practicing in a regular jersey, and he isn’t expected to play tonight against the Montreal Canadiens, but per Jon Cooper he should be ready when the Lightning start the road trip on Saturday. Jan Rutta has also started to skate with the team but he’s a little bit further from return and might be ready when the Lightning return from their road trip next week.
According to yesterday’s practice, Yanni Gourde returned to the fourth line where he plays with Pat Maroon and Cedric Paquette, and Mitchell Stephens was promoted to the third line with Barclay Goodrow and Tyler Johnson on wings. Carter Verhaeghe will probably return to the press box.
#Bolts practice lines & D-pairings:— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) March 4, 2020
Rutta mixing in
The Montreal Canadiens were quite busy at the trade deadline, however besides Ilya Kovalchuk no big names were involved in those trades and the Habs acquired a couple of new picks in the next two drafts. Since deadline they went 2-1-1, beating the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders and losing to the New York Rangers in regulation and to the Vancouver Canucks in overtime.
Both teams have already met three times this season. The Lightning have won all three games so far and are one victory away from sweeping the season series against the Canadiens. Last regular season, the Bolts were close to doing it, but failed, losing in the last game. In the last game, the Canadiens outshot the Lightning almost twice, but Andrei Vasilevskiy kept them in the game, making 38 saves on 39 shots on goal.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Blake Coleman - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Barclay Goodrow - Mitchell Stephens - Tyler Johnson
Patrick Maroon - Cedric Paquette - Yanni Gourde
Injured: Steven Stamkos
Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk
Braydon Coburn - Zach Bogosian
Injured: Ryan McDonagh, Jan Rutta
Tomas Tatar - Phillip Danault - Brendan Gallagher
Artturi Lehkonen - Nick Suzuki - Joel Armia
Paul Byron - Max Domi - Jordan Weal
Charles Hudon - Jake Evans - Dale Weise
Ben Chiarot - Shea Weber
Brett Kulak - Jeff Petry
Xavier Ouellet - Christian Folin
Injured: Jonathan Drouin, Victor Mete, Noah Juulsen