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Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins: Preview and Game Day Thread

Ending the first back-to-back of the season!

NHL: MAR 03 Penguins at Lightning Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at Pittsburgh Penguins: GAME #3

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: PPG Paints Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, NHL Network

DraftKings Line: Penguins -1.5 O/U 6.5

Opponent SBNation Site: PensBurgh

The Tampa Bay Lightning have started their 2022-23 campaign with two different results: they opened the season with a loss to the New York Rangers due to some lack of execution and then continued with a confident win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, outshooting and outchancing their opponent. Now they will face the Pittsburgh Penguins — another playoff contender, who should be a good test for the Bolts. The Lightning will also complete their first back-to-back of the season.

The Lightning are still trying to find their game at the beginning of the season. The power play delivered with one goal in each of two games, however the conversion rate could have been better as the Bolts had six power play opportunities in the first game against the Rangers. The Lightning has been experimenting with line combinations as well. The Brandon Hagel-Braden Point-Nikita Kucherov line debuted in an official game last night in Columbus: they posted a pretty dominant 70.07 xGF%, but couldn’t get on the scoreboard, despite having some decent chances. The Lightning also reunited the Ross Colton-Vlad Namestnikov-Corey Perry line, which had a showtime in the last preseason game against the Florida Panthers, where they combined for eight points and Namestnikov recorded a hat-trick.

Who absolutely certainly feels great at the start of the season is Steven Stamkos. The Lightning’s captain now leads the Bolts in goals this season (and is tied for the league lead), after scoring twice against the Blue Jackets last night, he has three goals in two games this season. Going back to the end of the previous regular season, Stamkos has now recorded points in 11 straight games, of those 29 points over that span 13 of them are goals. His line with Alex Killorn and Nick Paul dominated the opponents with 88.19 xGF% last night.

Not certain yet, if Andrei Vasilevskiy will start tonight in Pittsburgh, given he played last night too, but the Lightning didn’t hesitate to start Vasilevskiy on two consecutive nights in the past.

Meanwhile, the Penguins played just one game this season, beating the Arizona Coyotes 6-2 in their home opener on Thursday. The Penguins have a pretty deep team this season, which was proved in their first game, where six different players recorded a goal. The Penguins managed to keep the core of their roster, adding some players like Josh Archibald and Jan Rutta, who played for the Lightning in the four previous seasons, winning two Stanley Cups with them. Defenseman Ty Smith, who was acquired as an exchange for John Marino from the New Jersey Devils, was sent to the AHL before the start of the season.

The last season’s series between tonight’s opponents ended with a 2-1-0 balance in favor of the Penguins, including a big 6-2 win over the Lightning in 2021-22 NHL opener one year ago.

Comparison

Game Day Comparison

Game # 3 Tampa Bay Lightning Pittsburgh Penguins
Game # 3 Tampa Bay Lightning Pittsburgh Penguins
Overall Record 1-1-0 1-0-0
Home Record 0-0-0 1-0-0
Road Record 1-1-0 0-0-0
Goals For 6 6
Goals Against 5 2
xGF 5.88 5.28
xGA 8.27 2.43
PP% 25% 33.3%
PK% 87.5% 60%
Stats provided by Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Nick Paul - Steven Stamkos - Alex Killorn

Ross Colton - Vlad Namestnikov - Corey Perry

Cole Koepke - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Patrick Maroon

Gabriel Fortier

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Cal Foote

Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak

Haydn Fleury - Phillipe Myers

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Pittsburgh Penguins

Forward Lines

Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Rickard Rakell

Jason Zucker - Evgeni Malkin - Bryan Rust

Danton Heinen - Jeff Carter - Kasperi Kapanen

Brock McGinn - Ryan Poehling - Josh Archibald

Defense Pairings

Brian Dumoulin - Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson - Jeff Petry

Pierre-Olivier Joseph - Jan Rutta

Goaltenders

Tristan Jarry

Casey DeSmith