Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN+, BSSUN, BSAZ
Opponent SBNation Site: Five For Howling
The Tampa Bay Lightning finally broke their curse, after scoring first and taking an actual lead in the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now they need to break another curse and try to win at Amalie Arena. So far this season, the Bolts have lost three games in front of their fans, including a shootout loss against the Colorado Avalanche last week. The team they’re facing tonight, however, is still struggling to win a single game during this regular season.
Heading into the previous game, Jon Cooper radically changed the line combinations for the first time this season. Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli joined Brayden Point on the top line, while Ondrej Palat, Steven Stamkos and Mathieu Joseph formed the second line. Given that the Bolts earned their first regulation win of the season, the experiment could be considered successful. Although Brayden Point’s line posted strong numbers, the second line was outplayed by the opponent and was negative in most underlying statistics at 5v5.
The Lightning’s power play units still aren’t showing signs of life. All three power play goals scored by the Bolts this season were recorded in a single game against the Detroit Red Wings. Since that moment — and more importantly since Nikita Kucherov’s injury — the Lightning went scoreless with a man advantage. As announced yesterday, Kucherov will miss approximately 8-10 more weeks with an injury, and the Lightning need to figure out quickly what to do with their lifeless power play.
Pat Maroon returned to the line-up after birth of his child, making Boris Katchouk the odd man out. In his absence, however, the fourth-line’s numbers drastically dropped to 38.46 CF% and 31.36 xGF%. The line still didn’t allow any goal, but didn’t drive offense as well as in previous games. Alex Barre-Boulet, who replaced Katchouk on the fourth line, scored his first point since returning to the Lightning, but mostly struggled in a bottom-six role.
The Arizona Coyotes remain one of two NHL teams who have not recorded a win yet this regular season. With just one point, the team is solely sitting at the very bottom of the standings. The Yotes have been one of the worst teams in most categories so far, including their penalty kill — a potential opportunity for the Lightning’s power play to regain some confidence.
Injuries have been also a significant issue for Arizona: they’re currently missing six regular players, including goaltender Carter Hutton, their second line center Nick Schmaltz, who’s questionable for the game, and defenceman Conor Timmins, who suffered an injury in the previous game against the Florida Panthers.
Tonight’s game will be a first part of Lightning’s short homestand. After a meeting with the Yotes, the Bolts will face the Washington Capitals for the second time this season on Monday.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Alex Killorn - Brayden Point - Anthony Cirelli
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Mathieu Joseph
Pat Maroon - Ross Colton - Corey Perry
Alex Barre-Boulet - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Taylor Raddysh
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Andrej Sustr
Arizona Coyotes Lines
Lawson Crouse - Johan Larsson - Clayton Keller
Dmitrij Jaskin - Nick Schmaltz (?) - Phil Kessel
Andrew Ladd - Jay Beagle - Ryan Dzingel
Liam O’Brien - Christian Fischer - Loui Eriksson
Jakob Chychrun - Anton Stralman
Shane Gostisbehere - Victor Soderstrom
Ilya Lyubushkin - Dysin Mayo