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Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators Preview and Game Day Thread: Keep banking points

An early afternoon game

NHL: JAN 04 Lightning at Senators Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators GAME ELEVEN

Time: 2:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Canadian Tire Centre

Broadcast/Streaming: NHL Network, BSSUN, TVAS2

Opponent SBNation Site: Silver Seven Sens

The Tampa Bay Lightning couldn’t extend their winning streak and fell to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday night despite Andrei Vasilevskiy’s heroics in the game. What’s very important is that the Lightning still earned a point and hold the third place spot in the Atlantic Division with a 5-3-2 record. Tonight they’re facing another intradivisional opponent, the Ottawa Senators, who’s currently settled down on the opposite side of standings.

On Thursday, Victor Hedman played probably his worst game of the season. His failed clear attempt in the third period resulted in a game-tying goal by John Tavares and his slashing penalty in the overtime led to a game-winning goal by William Nylander — this was definitely not a night to remember for Hedman.

Overall Hedman improved from the previous regular season, when he didn’t look like himself due to playing couple of months through injury, and those mistakes don’t happen often to him, but in a season when the Lightning’s depth become significantly thinner, the team need him to be better.

What makes this situation harder for not only Hedman, but also other Lightning’s blueliners, is Mikhail Sergachev’s suspension. The Russian defenceman was suspended for his hit on the Leafs’ Mitch Marner and will miss next two games. Sergachev averages 22:49 per game, including a significant amount of time on power play and penalty kill and those minutes will be redistributed between the other defenceman.

The Lightning’s assistant coach, however, noted that the coaching staff aren’t going to overtax Hedman, McDonagh and Cernak, which means that Jan Rutta, Andrej Sustr and Cal Foote will be given more ice time. The Lightning also recalled Fredrik Claesson from the Syracuse Crunch, who will likely serve as the team’s seventh defenceman while Sergachev won’t be available.

The Maroon-Colton-Perry line has been the most common combination so far this season. It was the Lightning’s response to a departure of the Goodrow-Gourde-Coleman line in the offseason and it didn’t quite live up to expectations so far. Their line has been very solid defensively, but what made the Goodrow-Gourde-Coleman special is their offensive impact. The Maroon-Colton-Perry line currently leads all the Lightning’s forward lines in expected goal share with 69.4 xGF% according to Moneypuck.com (apart from Palat-Point-Kucherov line, which isn’t a thing right now due to Kucherov’s injury and Katchouk-Bellemare-Raddysh line, who played notably less time together), but they failed to convert it into actual goals. Both Maroon and Perry grabbed their first goal and assist of the season respectively in the last game and this will hopefully boost their confidence.

Meanwhile the Senators are entering tonight’s contest with a three-game losing streak, during which they were outscored 6-15. The team is filled with exciting young talent, but still have a long way to go to become at least a playoff team. Young 23-year-old forward Drake Batherson leads the team with 11 (5+6) points in 10 games, while 22-year-old center Josh Norris leads team with six goals. The Senators recently named Brady Tkachuk their 10th captain in franchise history. A 22-year-old left winger has two goals and two assists in seven games so far.

The last meetings between the two teams were during the 2019-20 regular season, when the Bolts recorded two wins and one loss against the Sens.

With the game against the Senators, the Lightning’s short road trip to Canada is ending. The Lightning are returning to Amalie Arena to face the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday.

Tampa Bay Lightning Lines

Forwards

Alex Killorn — Brayden Point — Anthony Cirelli

Ondrej Palat — Steven Stamkos — Alex Barre-Boulet

Patrick Maroon — Ross Colton — Corey Perry

Mathieu Joseph — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Taylor Raddysh

Defense

Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta

Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak

Andrej Sustr — Cal Foote

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Ottawa Senators Lines

Forwards

Brady Tkachuk — Josh Norris — Drake Batherson

Tim Stutzle — Nick Paul — Connor Brown

Alex Formenton — Chris Tierney — Tyler Ennis

Zach Sanford — Dylan Gambrell — Logan Shaw

Defense

Thomas Chabot — Artem Zub

Victor Mete — Josh Brown

Michael Del Zotto — Nick Holden

Goaltenders

Filip Gustavsson

Matt Murray