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
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
Victor Hedman - Jan Rutta
Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak
Zach Bogosian - Cal Foote
Washington Capitals Projected Lines
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
Martin Fehervary - John Carlson
Dmitri Orlov - Nick Jensen
Trevor Van Riemsdyk - Justin Schultz