Time: 9:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN+, BSSUN, MSG+
Opponent SBNation Site: All About the Jersey
The Lightning interrupt their Olympic break to take on the New Jersey Devils. In doing so they finish up their make-up games that had to be rescheduled due to COVID postponements (hopefully the last time we have to type that phrase). There is cause for concern that the Lightning might come out a little flat. This is their first game since last Friday and then they won’t play again until February 23rd when they take on the Edmonton Oilers.
We’ve seen in the past that long layoffs can adversely affect the Bolts, especially with their timing in the offensive zone. It may take them a period or so to find their rhythm. Luckily, they are taking on a Devils team that is 28th in goals allowed at 3.51 per game. Tampa Bay should have some leeway even if they start off slow.
Injuries have been the biggest culprit for the Devils as they are still without Dougie Hamilton on the blueline. Both of their main goaltenders, Johnathan Bernier and Mackenzie Blackwood are on IR while forwards Jesper Bratt and Andreas Johnsson are also banged up.
The Lightning know a thing or two about injuries and their is the possibility that they could have one of their big pieces back in Erik Cernak tonight. The intimidating blueliner has only appeared in 21 of the team’s 48 games so far this year due to various injuries sustained blocking shots. As Coach Cooper pointed out earlier this week, the Lightning haven’t had a ton of injuries, but the ones they have had have knocked players out for long stretches. He’s looking forward to fielding a full line-up (hopefully the Edmonton game).
While the Devils are just 2-8 in their last 10 games and have dropped to 7th in the Metropolitan Division, their two wins were big ones as they beat the St. Louis Blues 7-4 and the Montreal Canadiens 7-1 (leading to the dismissal of head coach Dominique Ducharme). Nico Hischier in particular has been on a heater as he has 5 goals in his last 5 games.
Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos
Pat Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Mathieu Joseph - Ross Colton - Taylor Raddysh
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh - Mikhail Sergachev
Darren Raddysh - Cal Foote
New Jersey Devils Projected Lines
Yegor Sharangovich - Jack Hughes - Dawson Mercer
Pavel Zacha - Nico Hischier - Tomas Tatar
Marian Studenic - Jesper Boqvist - Jimmy Vesey
Mason Geersten - Michael McLeod - Nathan Bastian
Jonas Siegenthaler - Damon Severson
Ty Smith - P.K. Subban
Colton White - Ryan Graves
Lines per their practice yesterday