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Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview: Tyler Johnson returns to the lineup

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Alex Volkov will be scratched

Chicago Blackhawks v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images

Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME 2

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: NBCSCH, SUN

Opponent SBNation Site: Second City Hockey


After a confident win over the Chicago Blackhawks on the opening night of the season, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning are preparing for their second game against the same opponent. The Blackhawks will try to avoid a bad start as in the first game, when the team had been trailing 0-3 by the end of the first period.

As it was announced earlier Tyler Johnson will make his return to the lineup tonight after going through waivers and spending the first game as a part of taxi squad. At yesterday’s practice he joined his familiar linemates Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn on the second line. With Johnson’s return Mathieu Joseph will be moved down to the fourth line. In his first NHL game since Feb. 13, 2020, Joseph looked very solid, scoring a goal in just ten minutes of ice time.

This also means that Alex Volkov will be the odd man out tonight. The 23-year old Russian forward is still struggling at the NHL level. In the game his line was the only one, which was outshot by the Blackhawks, but even compared with his teammates Pat Maroon and Mitchell Stephens, who played on the same line, Volkov’s numbers looked pretty low. Playing at the bottom line doesn’t help either for such a skilled player as Volkov. Obviously it’s just the first game of the season, but he is already losing the fight for the last vacant Lightning’s spot.

However, as the Lightning’s head coach Jon Cooper mentioned after yesterday’s practice, he’s not going to bury players on the bench, although it doesn’t mean that there will be a big rotation of players. Luke Schenn, who is also available now, will likely to return to the lineup at some point as well, giving a rookie Cal Foote some rest. Per Cooper they want to get a newly signed defenceman Andreas Borgman to the lineup too. Given the ongoing pandemic and strict NHL’s health and safety protocols, the replacements will definitely be useful.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks have officially placed Jonathan Toews and Kirby Dach on long-term injured reserve, while Brent Seabrook remains on injured reserve with a lower back injury. Those players won’t help them during the opening stretch of the season.

After tonight’s game against the Blackhawks, the Bolts are going to the indefinite pause: Sunday’s game against the Dallas Stars has been already postponed due to several COVID-19 positive tests amongst their players, but it’s still not clear whether the second game against the Stars on January 19 will be postponed too. If that game will be postponed, the Lightning won’t play until January 21, when the team heads to Columbus to meet the local Blue Jackets.

Tampa Bay Lightning


Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Steven Stamkos

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson

Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman

Pat Maroon - Mitchell Stephens - Mathieu Joseph

Defense Pairs

Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta

Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak

Ryan McDonagh - Cal Foote


Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Chicago Blackhawks

Forward Lines

Alex DeBrincat - Dylan Strome - Patrick Kane

Dominik Kubalik - Pius Suter - Brandon Pirri

Mattias Janmark - Lucas Wallmark - Andrew Shaw

Matthew Highmore - David Kampf - Ryan Carpenter

Defense Pairings

Duncan Keith - Connor Murphy

Nikita Zadorov - Adam Boquist

Calvin de Haan - Ian Mitchell


Malcolm Subban

Colin Della