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Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens Preview and Game Day Thread

It’s a holiday road trip!

Buffalo Sabres v Montreal Canadiens Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens: GAME# 30

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Bell Centre

Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUNX, TVAS, CITY, SNE, ESPN+

Opponent SBNation Site: Eyes on the Prize

DraftKings Line: Lightning -1.5 O/U 6.5

Preview:

After enjoying home cooking for the past two weeks, the Tampa Bay Lightning kick off a four-game road trip against the Montreal Canadiens that will also take them through Toronto, Detroit, and Buffalo before they head home for a four-day holiday break. The challenge will be to continue their excellent run of play (5-1) while enjoying hotel beds and room service.

The Canadiens, coached by old friend Marty St. Louis, are scuffling a bit at the moment. While they, like everyone except Ottawa, are technically at .500 with a 14-14-2 record, the last two games have not been great as they’ve lost to the Senators and Ducks, two teams fighting for the right to draft Connor Bedard.

They will want to put on a good showing for their fans as this is their last home game before a seven-game road trip takes them around the US with games in Arizona, Texas, Florida, D.C., and Tennessee. That’s going to log them a ton of Marriott Bonvoy points.

While they might not be enjoying the success the fans hope for, at least the future foundations of their team are leading the way. Nick Suzuki (23) is their team leader in points with 30 (14 goals, 16 assists). Fellow youngling Cole Caufield (21) is their goal leader with 18. Kirby Dach (21) is third in team scoring with 21 points (5 goals, 16 assists).

Unfortunately, after that trio, things kind of drop off the cliff. Suzkuki and Caufield are the only players with double digit totals in the goal column. Coach St. Louis is trying to get as much as he can out of the veterans like Sean Monahan, Brandon Gallagher, and Mike Hoffman that have been brought in to fill ice time until Montreal is ready to compete again, but it’s been a struggle for them to produce consistent offense. Unfortunately the injury bug has knocked out some of those players as Gallagher, Paul Byron, Monahan, and David Savard won’t be in action tonight.

One of the bright spots in the Canadiens season has been the development of surprise number one overall pick Juraj Slafkosky. The 18-year-old has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 25 games this year, but 5 of those have come over the last 8 games. At 6’3” and 238 lbs, the Slovakian left wing is a large individual with a tremendous amount of skill and Coach St. Louis has been easing him into a bigger role as the season has progressed. There was some question as to if he would leave the team to play for Slovakia in the World Juniors, but it appears the Canadiens feel that the NHL is the best place for him to be at the moment.

As for the Bolts, they just want to keep playing the way they’ve been playing. After struggling to keep pucks out of the net, over the home stand they only allowed 2.17. Speaking of defense, Mikhail Sergachev will likely by a game time decision after his missed the win against Columbus with an upper-body injury. He appeared to have some difficulty at the end of the game against Seattle after taking a puck to the hand.

Haydn Fleury took his spot against Columbus on a pairing with Zach Bogosian.

With a rematch against the Toronto Maple Leafs looming on Tuesday, the Bolts need to be sure they don’t look past Montreal tonight. While they might be struggling a bit, they can be feisty enough to score the upset.

Comparison chart:

Tampa Bay Lightning at Montreal Canadiens

Game #30 Tampa Bay Lightning Montreal Canadiens
Game #30 Tampa Bay Lightning Montreal Canadiens
Overall Record 19-9-1 14-14-2
Home Record 12-4-1 7-8-0
Road Record 7-5-0 7-6-2
Goals For 105 88
Goals Against 85 105
xGF 100.9 81.13
xGA 89.95 113.05
PP% 27.1% 14.4%
PK% 80.4% 79.6%
Stats via NHL and Natural Stat Trick

Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Steven Stamkos - Nick Paul - Alex Killorn

Ross Colton - Anthony Cirelli - Pat Maroon

Vlad Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Nick Perbix

Ian Cole - Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev (?) - Zach Bogosian

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Montreal Canadiens Potential Lines

Forward Lines

Cole Caufield - Nick Suzuki - Kirby Dach

Evgenii Dadonov - Christian Dvorak - Mike Hoffman

Juraj Slafkovsky - Jake Evans - Josh Anderson

Jonathan Drouin - Rem Pitlik - Joel Armia

Defense Pairings

Joel Edmundson - Kaiden Guhle

Jordan Harris - Johnathan Kovacevic

Arber Xhekaj - Chris Wideman

Goalies

Jake Allen

Samuel Montembeault