Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Nashville Predators: Game 7
Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Amalie Arena (Home of the Stanley Cup Champion Lightning)
Broadcast/Streaming: Fox Sports Sun, FS-TN, NHL.tv
Opponent SBNation Site: On the Forecheck
The last time these two teams met (all the way back on Saturday) there were three fights and sixty-four total penalty minutes. All of the infractions detracted a little from the fact that it was a pretty fun game. The Lightning scored four times in the second period and then had to hold on as Nashville almost pulled off a comeback.
With the baseball-style series instituted for this season there was some speculation that bad blood may carry over from game to game. With the Lightning’s staggered start to the season, they really haven’t had a chance to see that develop just yet. Their second games against Chicago and Columbus weren’t all that eventful in terms of fights or ugliness.
Hopefully the Bolts focus on winning the game as opposed to taking liberties against their opponent. With nine points through six games they are currently sitting in fifth place in the Central Division. Of the teams they’re trailing, only Columbus has played more games (ten). So it’s imperative that they stock up as many points as they can now to try and separate themselves from the pack. After all, every game is a four-point game this year.
The good news from Saturday’s game is that the Lightning snapped a 120-minute goalless streak. However, looking back over the last three game they’ve clumped their scoring is still a little streaky as they’ve scored in just two of their last nine periods of play (two in the first period against Columbus and the four in the second period against Nashville). Their play has been good enough that they should have a few more goals, but getting the puck into the back of the net more consistently would be nice.
Expect pretty much the same line-up as Saturday night, at least up front. Erik Cernak could return to the blueline, but Coach Cooper may give him another night off to make sure he is as close to 100% as possible. The pairings worked out ok their first time against Nashville so they run it back again.
Fun with Numbers and Charts
The Lightning have most definitely been fun so far this season. They have generated their typical shot quality in the offensive zone. Even with their recent slump in scoring they are still generating 3.17 goals per game, good for a spot in the top ten in the league. Generating quality shots usually leads to goals, so that’s good.
What they would like to do is limit the quality of shots against. They aren’t giving up a ton of shots (29.0 per game) but the ones they are giving up are high-quality. While that makes for a fun game to watch, it likely gives the coaching staff ulcers. Some of that could be due to the Lightning still figuring out their defensive pairings, but it needs to be worked out pretty soon. They can’t expect Andrei Vasilevskiy to keep rolling along like he has been so far this season (.944 SV% at 5v5).
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Steven Stamkos
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson
Blake Coleman - Yanni Gourde - Barclay Goodrow
Pat Maroon - Mathieu Joseph - Alex Volkov
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Luke Schenn
Mikhail Sergachev - Cal Foote
Nashville Predators Lines
Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Viktor Arvidsson
Nick Cousins - Matt Duchene - Mikael Granlund
Colton Sissons - Erik Haula - Luke Kunin
Yakov Trenin - Brad Richardson - Mathieu Olivier
Roman Josi - Ryan Ellis
Mattias Ekholm - Dante Fabbro
Mark Borowiecki - Matt Benning