Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN+, BSSUN, BSSW
Opponent SBNation Site: St. Louis Game Time
After a shortened 2020-21 regular season, the NHL have fully abandoned the idea of scheduling series-style games. This week, however, the Tampa Bay Lightning and St. Louis will have some kind of deja vu from last season as both teams will meet twice in the span of two days. After a shootout loss on Tuesday, the Bolts will have their chance to get revenge tonight.
Before last game, the Lightning found themselves in a very complicated situation: in addition to injured Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point, the team did not play with captain Steven Stamkos, who was absent due to birth of his second child. Mathieu Joseph, who suffered an injury in a game against the Minnesota Wild, was also unavailable for this game, leaving them without four regular forwards. By the time this article is written, it’s still not clear if either Stamkos or Joseph will return to the line-up, but given that Joseph skated with the team before the previous game, he’s in day-to-day category and should be close to return.
The potential return of Stamkos and Joseph would also push Gabriel Fortier out of the lineup. This 21-year-old rookie made his NHL debut on Tuesday night, seeing 9:37 of ice time, including some time during 4-on-4 play in overtime. With the Lightning playing in 11/7 formation, the coaching staff switched line combination pretty often and Fortier ended up playing with different partners in his debut, but mostly with his former Syracuse Crunch teammates — Alex Barre-Boulet, Boris Katchouk, and Ross Colton.
Another player, who will be potentially scratched if at least one of the missing forwards return, is Cal Foote. Foote should have been a healthy scratch in the previous game against the Blues on Tuesday night, but the sudden departure of Steven Stamkos saved his line-up spot. He played just eight minutes that night, serving as a seventh defenceman. Due to the recovery of Erik Cernak, the Lightning also re-assigned defenceman Sean Day back to Syracuse.
Corey Perry appears to be the hottest Lightning player right now. As of today, Perry has points in five consecutive games, including three goals during that period of time. With Kucherov, Point and Stamkos out, Perry recorded his highest TOI of the season in previous game and even played on the top power play unit, scoring the only Lightning’s goal with man advantage in that game.
For the second time this season, the Lighting suffered two or more losses in a row after losing to the Wild and the St. Blues in the last two games. The Lightning are sitting in third place in the Atlantic Division, trailing five points to both the Florida Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes, but still have some games in hand. Tonight’s game will also be the last home game before a five-game road trip, which starts next Saturday in Boston.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines:
(based on the previous game)
Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — Ondrej Palat
Patrick Maroon — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — Corey Perry
Taylor Raddysh — Ross Colton — Boris Katchouk
Gabriel Fortier — Alex Barre-Boulet
Victor Hedman — Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh — Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev — Zach Bogosian
St Louis Blues Lines:
Brayden Schenn - Ryan O’Reilly - Jordan Kyrou
Pavel Buchnevich - Robert Thomas - Vladimir Tarasenko
Brandon Saad - Oskar Sundqvist - Ivan Barbashev
Dakota Joshua - Logan Brown
Niko Mikkola - Colton Parayko
Torey Krug - Justin Faulk
Scott Perunovich - Robert Bortuzzo