Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUNX, BSSO, ESPN+
Opponent SBNation Site: On The Forecheck
Brian Elliott is on the loose tonight as he gets the start against the Nashville Predators. He’ll play behind a new-looking Lightning lineup, that had some changes made to it after a poor start in a loss against the LA Kings.
Up front, Anthony Cirelli is on the first line with Brayden Point as his winger. Stamkos and Kucherov reunite. Also notable Vlad Namestnikov and Pat Maroon have switched spots in the bottom six.
On defense, Nick Perbix has moved up next to Victor Hedman, Cernak and Cole sticking together, while Cal Foote draws in next to Mikhail Sergachev on the third pairing. Not a good look for the new-salaried young defenseman.
I’m really interested to see what that third line is going to do, and what exactly their role will be. Three agitators who work hard and are generally positive to shot share when they’re on the ice.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Anthony Cirelli
Steven Stamkos - Nick Paul - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Ross Colton - Pat Maroon
Vlad Namestnikov - PE Bellemare - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Nick Perbix
Ian Cole - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Cal Foote
As for the Predators, they are a team that is fifth in the Central Division, a place they’ve been for quite some time in recent years. But with a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 they’ve been on a bit of a role.
The Predators are one of the better faceoff teams in the league (6th) with their center depth, but it doesn’t translate to much as they’re 19th in the league in shot share with a very mediocre 50%. The Preds also have a 50% expected goal rate, which would normally amount to a playoff team (mathematically in the middle of the league) but they are shooting at only 7% at 5v5, which is 28th best in the league. For context, the Lightning are an average team shooting 8%, while the Stars are at the top of the league at 10%.
Poor shooting combined with the 27th best power play in the league amounts to the Preds scoring very few goals per game (2.6 goals to the Lightning’s 3.4).
Ryan McDonagh took a puck to the face on the weekend and is out 2-4 weeks. Unfortunately his return home to play his former team will have to wait a year.
The Predators haven’t released their lines since McDonagh was injured (Dec 2nd) so we don’t know what their pairs will look like, but we know Jordan Gross was called up to be their sixth defenseman.
Nashville Predators Lines
Mikael Granlund - Juuso Parssinen - Matt Duchene
Filip Forsberg - Colton Sissons - Tanner Jeannot
Cole Smith - Ryan Johansen - Nino Niederreiter
Nikita Yakov Trenin - Mark Jankowski - Mike McCarron
xxxx - Roman Josi
Mattias Ekholm - William Carrier
Jeremy Lauzon - Dante Fabbro