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San Jose Sharks at Tampa Bay Lightning: Preview and Game Day Thread

Nikita Kucherov out of COVID protocol, not playing tonight

Tampa Bay Lightning v Anaheim Ducks
ANAHEIM, CA - JANUARY 21: Nikita Kucherov #86 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates on the ice during the second period against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on January 21, 2022 in Anaheim, California.
Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images

San Jose Sharks at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #46
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN+, BSSUN, NBCSCA
Opponent SB Nation Site: Fear The Fin

This will be the second and final game of the season series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and San Jose Sharks as the Sharks complete their Southeast Division road trip tonight in Tampa. The Lightning are getting set to play their last game before the All-Star weekend, before they get a long break before a small road trip and then another long break of games. It’s a shame the Bucs aren’t still playing because it’s going to be a quiet month of sports over here.

Last time the Bolts met the Sharks, they scored seven on the road en route to a blowout victory. There’s every reason to believe that could happen again as the Lightning haven’t really gotten more or less healthy in the interim week and a half. The Sharks will obviously try to push back and show better structure in front of their goalie, Reimer, but we’ll see what happens.

The Sharks are right in the bottom group of teams when it comes to shot share (46%), and while their expected goals are a little better (49%), they don’t really have the finishing this season to turn those into real goals (46%).

The lineup tonight might see some changes before gametime. Jan Rutta didn’t take part in the full practice on Monday, so he’s expected to still be out, Darren Raddysh will take his spot in the lineup. Rutta did skate this morning for the optional skate, so his return could be in the cards. Personally, it’s just one game and he’s going to get nine more days off before the next one. I’d take advantage of those.

Nikita Kucherov was on the ice this morning for the optional skate, meaning he is out of COVID protocol. However, Coach Cooper let the reporters know that Kucherov won’t be in the lineup tonight, and they’ll be going with the same forward lines as Monday’s practice.

Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines


Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Anthony Cirelli
Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Mathieu Joseph
Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Boris Katchouk - Ross Colton - Taylor Raddysh
OUT: Nikita Kucherov (COVID)


Victor Hedman - Cal Foote
Ryan McDonagh - Mikhail Sergachev
Fredrik Claesson - Darren Raddysh
OUT: Jan Rutta (inj), Zach Bogosian (inj)


Andrei Vasilevskiy - confirmed starter
Brian Elliott

San Jose Sharks Projected Lines


Timo Meier - Tomas Hertl - Alexander Barabanov
Rudolfs Balcers - Logan Couture - Jonathan Dahlen
Andrew Cogliano - Nick Bonino - Matt Nieto
Jeffrey Viel - Lane Pederson - Noah Gregor


Jayson Megna - Brent Burns
Radim Simek - Nick Merkley
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Nicolas Meloche


James Reimer - projected starter
Zach Sawchenko