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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Nashville Predators: Amalie Arena will allow fans for the first time in 2021

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Wear that mask!

Tampa Bay Lightning v Nashville Predators Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Nashville Predators: GAME 26

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: Fox SUN

Opponent SBNation Site: On the Forecheck

The Tampa Bay Lightning are returning to Amalie Arena after a six-game road trip to open a short two-game series against the Nashville Predators. This time the game won’t be accompanied by the lone gazes of team and arena workers, but also a crowd of no more than 3800 fans, which will be allowed for the first time this season at Lightning home games.

Tonight the Bolts will also have a chance to clinch the season series against their divisional opponent as the Lightning have already beaten the Predators four times – half of their total amount of meetings this season. While the first two victories over the Predators were a little bit closer in terms of result, the Lightning were truly dominant in two recent meetings, outscoring their opponent 10-2.

Since their last game, the Nashville Predators’ results haven’t improved much. The team still remains in the bottom part of the standings with a very slim chances to make playoffs. The Predators went six previous games without any wins in regulation, earning their only victory over the Dallas Stars in a shootout during that stretch.

The Predators have been also dragged down by a lot of injuries this season: the team is missing both of their top defensemen, Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi, one of their top centre-forwards in Matt Duchene, and their main goaltender, Juuse Saros. All of them have been placed on injured reserve and are expected to miss at least a couple of weeks. The Predators won’t rely on defenseman Dante Fabbro either, who will miss the second game due to a suspension for elbowing Carolina Hurricanes’ Brock McGinn this week.

While the Lightning are sitting at first place as the top-scoring team in the NHL with 3.64 GF/G, the Predators remain at the opposite side of the charts with just 2.30 goals per game – the fourth-worst result in the league. Both of the Predators’ special units are also not particularly shining this season with bottom-third results in league standings. The lack of scoring depth has been one of the most significant problems for the Predators in recent seasons. Filip Forsberg is leading the team in both goals and points, while none of his teammates have scored more than six goals this season.

After the game against the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night, the Lightning announced a re-assignment of Alex Barré-Boulet to the Syracuse Crunch. After a very frustrating loss against Detroit, the Lightning management staff will likely make some changes in their roster. Hopefully we will see Taylor Raddysh making his debut in the NHL. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jan Rutta will be scratched for one game as a punishment for his worrisome performance against the Red Wings.

Projected Lines

Tampa Bay Lightning Lines

(based on the previous game)

Forwards

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Anthony Cirelli

Alex Killorn - Yanni Gourde - Steven Stamkos

Barclay Goodrow - Tyler Johnson - Blake Coleman

Pat Maroon - Ross Colton - Mathieu Joseph

Defense

Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev - Cal Foote

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Nashville Predators Lines

(based on the previous game)

Forwards

Filip Forsberg - Ryan Johansen - Viktor Arvidsson

Mikael Granlund - Rem Pitlick - Calle Jarnkrok

Nick Cousins - Colton Sissons - Eeli Tolvanen

Yakov Trenin - Brad Richardson - Mathieu Olivier

Defense

Mattias Ekholm - Alexandre Carrier

Ben Harpur - Jeremy Davies

Mark Borowiecki - Matt Benning

Goalies

Pekka Rinne

Kasimir Kaskisuo