Ottawa Senators at Tampa Bay Lightning: Game 29
Time: 7:00 pm ET
Location: Amalie Arena Home of the Stanley Cup Champions
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN+, BSSUN, RDS2, TSN5
Opponent SB Nation Site: Silver Seven Sens
When last these two teams met the Tampa Bay Lightning were looking to finish off a perfect 5-0 road trip. In last week’s match-up there was a “0” posted, unfortunately it was under the “Goals Scored” column for the Lightning as Anton Forsberg and his mates sent them back home with a 4-0 loss. The Lightning bounced back with a nice overtime victory against the Los Angeles Kings while the Senators went down to Sunrise and thrashed the Florida Panthers, 8-2.
After a miserable November in which they only won one out of the thirteen games they played, the Senators have been on fire in December, winning five out of their seven contests so far. It’s not like they’ve been beating cellar dwellers either. They’ve posted victories over our beloved Lightning, the Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes - all teams that should contend for the Stanley Cup this spring.
Offense has been key to their surge as they’ve averaged 4.14 goals per game during December, well above their season mark of 2.85 GPG. The top line of Drake Batherson (12 points), Brady Tkachuk (11 points), and Josh Norris (9 points) have been doing much of the damage during this run. Fellow youngsters Tim Stutzle (3 goals) and Alex Formenton (3 goals) have also given the Senators a little depth scoring along the way.
Anton Forsberg has given them stability in net as he’s yet to lose this month, posting a 5-0 record, .933 SV%, and 2.16 GAA. He’ll likely be the starter in net for them tonight as the Senators look to win in Amalie Arena for the first time since November of 2018.
On the home side of the ice, expect the Lightning to roll out the same line-up they did against the Kings with Riley Nash centering the fourth line and Gabriel Fortier in the press box. The main difference for Tampa Bay going in this game as opposed to the last two times they’ve faced Ottawa will be the man between the pipes as Andrei Vasilevskiy will most likely get the start. Like Forsberg, Vasy is entering the game with a 5-0 record, a .930 SV%, and 2.17 GAA (maybe we should bet the under six total goals scored tonight, eh?).
The Lightning are still waiting on their big offense guns to return from injury. While Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point continue to skate in practices their returns are not imminent. Normally, that would be cause for concern, but the Bolts have plugged away quite well as others have filled in. In the month since Point has been out of the line-up Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman are averaging at least a point a game while some unexpected sources like Corey Perry (6 goals, 4 assists), Ross Colton (1 goal, 7 assists), and Taylor Raddysh (4 goals, 3 assists) have found their scoring touches.
The Lightning are also riding a season-high five game home winning streak which is a nice turnaround from their sluggish start at home earlier this year. It’s also their last home game before Christmas as they embark on a three-game road trip that takes them west to Colorado, Vegas, and Arizona.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat - Steven Stamkos - Ross Colton
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph
Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Boris Katchouk - Riley Nash - Taylor Raddysh
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev - Cal Foote
Ottawa Senators Lines
Brady Tkachuk - Josh Norris - Drake Batherson
Alex Formenton - Tim Stutzle - Connor Brown
Zach Sanford - Chris Tierney - Tyler Ennis
Nick Paul - Dylan Gambrell - Austin Watson
Thomas Chabot - Nikita Zaitsev
Nick Holden - Artem Zub
Dillon Heatherington - Victor Mete