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Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals Preview and Game Day Thread

The clash of two wild-card teams

Washington Capitals v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals: GAME #70

Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time

Location: Capital One Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: TNT, TVAS

Opponent SBNation Site: Japers’ Rink

After recording a five-game point streak, the Tampa Bay Lightning received an embarrassing slap in their face in their most recent game. The loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs has uncovered some issues, which the Lightning should solve as soon as possible if they want to have another deep playoff run. Since the beginning of March, the Lightning have won just one game against a playoff team, losing seven such match-ups. We know how the Lightning had been able to transform their game for the playoffs in the recent two seasons, but it still looks pretty alarming.

After Monday’s loss, the Bolts fallen behind the Bruins in the standings. Both teams have the same amount of points currently, but Boston is ahead of Tampa Bay due to more games won in regulation. They will have a chance to decide which team deserved to be higher in the standings in a face-to-face game this weekend. As of now, the Lightning is potentially facing the Carolina Hurricanes in the first-round of playoffs.

In the meantime, the Bolts have other stuff to do. Their tonight’s opponent — the Washington Capitals — is also currently in a wild-card spot. After a pretty hot start, the Caps have slowed down and found themselves behind the leading group in the Metropolitan Division. The gap ahead of the New York Islanders, however, could allow them not to worry about their postseason spot. Just like the Lightning, the Capitals are coming off of two losses in two previous games. In those two games the Capitals had been outscored 2-11.

The Capitals’ lineup has seen some changes over the last months. Ahead of playoffs, Peter Laviolette started trusting less to their younger players, preferring more experienced players. At the trade deadline, the Capitals acquired Marcus Johansson, who already played for them in 2010-2017 years. The Swedish forward slid to the lineup on a right wing of Nicklas Backstrom’s top line, but haven’t scored for Washington yet. The Capitals also traded for Johan Larsson — another Swedish forward with decent defensive abilities, who debuted in their previous game against the Minnesota Wild.

The Lightning and the Capitals played twice over the first month of the current regular season. The Bolts won both games, but those victories came in a very tight games, where the Lightning won by a one-goal advantage.

Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines

Forwards

Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn

Brandon Hagel - Nick Paul - Ross Colton

Patrick Maroon - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry

Defensemen

Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta

Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak

Zach Bogosian - Cal Foote

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Brian Elliott

Washington Capitals Projected Lines

Forwards

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Marcus Johansson

Anthony Mantha - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie

Conor Sheary - Lars Eller - Tom Wilson

Johan Larsson - Nic Dowd - Garnet Hathaway

Defense

Martin Fehervary - John Carlson

Dmitri Orlov - Nick Jensen

Trevor Van Riemsdyk - Justin Schultz

Goaltender

Vitek Vanecek

Ilya Samsonov