Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME 53
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: Bally’s Sports Sun, BSSW+
Opponent SBNation Site: Defending Big D
The last time the Tampa Bay Lightning saw Tyler Seguin on the ice, he was a broken hockey player having to deal with a Stanley Cup Final loss. He suffered the slings and arrows from all corners of social media when he went the final 15 playoff games (and all 6 Finals games) without a goal, although he did have 5 total assists in Games 4 and 5 against the Lightning. Everyone knew he was hurt, no one knew how bad.
In the offseason he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip (sound familiar, Lightning fans?). He also had his right knee scoped about a month after the hip procedure. After two months of being basically off his feet he had to start at ground zero with his rehabilitation. Not fun.
He made it back onto the ice in time to help his Stars’ teammates make their push for the fourth and final spot in the Central Division playoffs. His first game was Monday against the Florida Panthers and, for the first time since August 26th, 2020 he found the back of the net:
.@tseguinofficial is back, y'all. pic.twitter.com/QYOCmHnehI— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) May 4, 2021
It wasn’t enough to propel the Stars to victory as they lost in overtime to the Panthers, dropping a much needed point in their race against the Nashville Predators. The loss put Dallas four points behind Nashville with four games to play in their season, with two of them against the Lightning. The Stars do have one game in hand against the Predators (who are in action against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight), but in reality need to win out in order to pass Nashville by in the standings.
Despite the loss, just the fact that one of their veteran leaders is back after such a grueling rehab could be a stimulant to a Dallas team that’s been through quite a bit this season. Not to mention the fact that a player with 280 career goals could boost an offense that has struggled against the Lightning this season.
So, the Lightning are going to meet a very motivated, if tired and injured Dallas team. Tampa Bay has controlled the season series so far, winning five of the six games while outscoring them 19-8. Andrei Vasilevskiy has played in all five of the games and walked away with shutouts in three of them. I’m going to guess he’s getting the start tonight after his five-day break.
The rest of the line-up should remain the same as the Lightning look to keep their six-game point streak alive. They are tuning up for the playoffs and have a nice bit of competition left over their last four games. The next two are against a desperate Dallas team and then they finish the season against the Florida Panthers in a two-game series that will most likely determine home-ice in the first round of the playoffs. Wow. There are only six days left in the regular season. I can’t believe it’s time for the post season already.
Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos skated with the team during their practice on Tuesday, but it’s not likely they will see the ice before the end of the season based on Coach Cooper’s comments after the practice. Of the injured players, it sounds like Jan Rutta is the only one who might get into a game before the end of the regular season.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Alex Barre-Boulet
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson
Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman
Patrick Maroon - Ross Colton - Mathieu Joseph
Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak
Ryan McDonagh - David Savard
Mikhail Sergachev - Luke Schenn
Lines based on last game and Tuesday’s practice.
Dallas Stars Lines
Jason Robertson - Roope Hintz - Joe Pavelski
Joel Kiviranta - Jamie Benn - Denis Gurianov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faska - Blake Comeau
Tanner Kero - Rhett Gardner - Tyler Seguin
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera - Sami Vatanen
Lines from DailyFaceoff.com Will update if we get information during the morning skate.