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St. Louis Blues at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview and Game Day Thread

Anthony Cirelli hopefully a week away

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NHL: DEC 02 Blues at Lightning
TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 02: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) celebrates scoring a goal during the NHL Hockey match between the Tampa Bay Lightning and St Louis Blues on December 2nd, 2021 at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL.
Photo by Andrew Bershaw/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

St. Louis Blues at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME# 20
Time: 8:00 pm ET
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: TNT, SN, TVAS, SlingTV
Opponent SBNation Site: St. Louis Game Time

DraftKings Line: Lightning -1.5 O/U 6.5

Preview:

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all! The Bolts (11-7-1) will be book-ending the holiday with games on Friday and Monday at home and on the road against St. Louis (10-9-0) and in Buffalo (9-11-0). But before the Bolts trek up to snowy Buffalo they have to play the Blues who have had a bit better time more recently but struggled out of the gate.

A recap of the Blues this season based on their analytics describes them as a very poor shot share team (45% and bottom five in the league) but who’s expected goal numbers have been netting out at about average in the league. They don’t carry possession and turtle heavily once they get a lead, but they can keep things close for the most part.

On special teams, the Blues power play is very mediocre (right in the middle of the league) but their penalty kill has been poor, only 68% and third last in the league. The Blues this year are in the bottom third in goals for and the middle third in goals against, but historically they’re near the bottom in both categories, meaning all their games are low scoring and close. At the moment, they’ve been winning close games and losing blowouts, hence their -10 goal differential despite a winning record.

The bright side for the Lightning is that with control of the puck and a good power play, they shouldn’t have too hard of a time against the relatively slower Blues. This is a good matchup for them. The bad thing is since the Blues mostly play not to lose, there’s a high chance a one-goal game can go either way. Like a much less chaotic version of the Devils game the other day where they lost 2-1 because of three goals getting called back from reviews. They only needed one call to go their way.

Now let’s talk about rosters. On the Bolts side, Anthony Cirelli is still on the mend, but as he’s been skating his timeline is looking a lot more like one more week than two — potentially making him available for next Saturday’s game against Toronto, or Tuesday against Detroit.

One player who wasn’t skating was Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who has left the team on a personal leave of absence. We obviously don’t know what it’s about or want to pry, but hoping all is okay there.

As a result, the Lightning are surely going to go with the 12 forwards they have left, or potentially 11/7 depending on nagging injuries. We’ll know more about this at morning skate and will provide an update either in this post below or in the comments. Whatever I can access while at work.

The Blues, who played on Tuesday, ran the following lines in a loss to the Sabres. In terms of their roster they have a few extra guys they might want to sub in. Currently Marco Scandella and Logan Brown are injured, among other not notable players.

Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Line

Credit: Eddie in the Yard

Forwards

Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Steve Stamkos - Nick Paul - Alex Killorn
Ross Colton - Vladislav Namestnikov - Corey Perry
Pat Maroon - Rudolfs Balcers - Cole Koepke

Defense

Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix
Ian Cole - Zach Bogosian

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Brian Elliott

St. Louis Blues Projected Lines

Credit: Jim Thomas

Forwards

Nathan Walker - Ryan O’Reilly - Vladimir Tarasenko
Pavel Buchnevich - Robert Thomas - Jordan Kyrou
Ivan Barbashev - Brayden Schenn - Noel Acciari
Alexey Toropchenko - Nikita Alexandrov - Tyler Pitlick

Defense

Nick Leddy - Colton Parayko
Torey Krug - Justin Faulk
Calle Rosen - Niko Mikkola

Goalies

Jordan Binnington
Thomas Griess