Time: 4:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Scotiabank Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSN, SN360, NHL TV, TVAS
Opponent SBNation Site: Japers’ Rink
NHL hockey has been back for a couple of days now, but the Tampa Bay Lightning had to wait a little longer than most to get back into game action. Tonight, they’ll face off against the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of their round robin.
If their one exhibition game against the Florida Panthers was any indication, the Bolts should be raring to go tonight. Their top line of Ondrej Palat, Brayden Point and Nikita Kucherov combined for 10 points and the team cruised to a shutout win. The Bolts will need those three firing on all cylinders as the status of captain Steven Stamkos remains up in the air — though if all goes well, he should be in the lineup tonight.
Though Victor Hedman didn’t depart with the team to the Toronto bubble, he joined the team over the weekend and is expected to play tonight. He’ll either play with Zach Bogosian or Jan Rutta, who may still not be 100% as he returns from an injury. The Capitals could be without top defenseman John Carlson tonight, as he was injured in exhibition play and is day-to-day.
Washington will rely on Braden Holtby to get them through the playoffs, as backup Ilya Samsonov is out with an injury. Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to start all three round robin games for the Lightning.
Tampa Bay lost all three meetings with Washington this season, twice in regulation and once in overtime. Round robin wins will be critical for the Lightning, as their first-round playoff opponent will be determined by how they finish amongst the other three round robin teams.
Lightning hockey is back. Here’s hoping they put on a good show.
Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson
Jakub Vrana - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Carl Hagelin - Lars Eller - Ilya Kovalchuk
Richard Panik - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway
Michal Kempny - Dmitry Orlov
Brenden Dillon - Radko Gudas
Jonas Siegenthaler - Nick Jensen
Injured: John Carlson
Injured: Ilya Samsonov
Tampa Bay Lightning
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos
Blake Coleman - Tyler Johnson - Barclay Goodrow
Patrick Maroon - Yanni Gourde - Cedric Paquette
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk
Braydon Coburn - Luke Schenn