Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning preview: Can the Bolts and Nikita Kucherov both hit 90 points tonight?
Who knew the Stars were having <em>so much</em> trouble scoring?
Dallas Stars at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME 58
Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: SUN, FS-SW, SN1, SNE, SNP
Opponent SBNation Site: Defending Big D
25 points separate the Dallas Stars from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the standings. With a win tonight, the Bolts will be the first team to hit the 90-point plateau this season. But despite the Stars having an up-and-down season, they come into Tampa having won five of their last seven games.
After the confusion at morning skate on Tuesday that resulted in players shuffled between all three Lightning organizations, things settled down yesterday. Mathieu Joseph was sent down to Syracuse as a paper transaction, but was recalled and should return to the lineup tonight. Ondrej Palat and Erik Cernak were active participants in practice, and their returns look imminent.
#tblightning Cooper said not sure if Cernak back tomorrow but if not soon after that. Said Palat could be back. #TBLightning— Joe Smith (@JoeSmithTB) February 13, 2019
As for the Stars, Ben Bishop remains out with an injury, so Anton Khudobin will get fourth straight start. Dallas will likely dress the same lineup they used against Florida, but with one minor change:
Bishop not ready yet, so Khudobin in goal vs Tampa. Gurianov back in. Nichushkin comes out.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) February 13, 2019
The Lightning looked lethal against Calgary on Tuesday. Four players had multi-point nights and the offense has awoken. However, the Stars have allowed the second-least amount of goals this season. Bishop and Khudobin have been a formidable tandem all season — getting saves hasn’t been Dallas’ problem. Plus, Khudobin just shutout the Panthers on Tuesday.
But the Bolts have Andrei Vasilevskiy, who has a nearly identical save percentage to both Bishop and Khudobin. Though the Stars may be getting the saves, they do struggle to score. They’re third-last in goals for this season. Trying to get one or two past Vasilevskiy may be a tall task. It’s not impossible, since they have the offensive talents of Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov. But Seguin, who leads the Stars in scoring with 54 points, is miles behind the Lightning’s (and NHL’s) leading scorer. Nikita Kucherov is two points shy of 90, and he could very well hit that tonight.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Yanni Gourde - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
J.T. Miller - Steven Stamkos - Tyler Johnson
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Adam Erne
Mathieu Joseph - Cedric Paquette - Ryan Callahan
Injured: Ondrej Palat
Victor Hedman - Dan Girardi
Ryan McDonagh - Anton Stralman
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev
Injured: Erik Cernak
Roope Hintz - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Jamie Benn - Jason Dickinson - Blake Comeau
Andrew Cogliano - Jason Spezza - Brett Ritchie
Mattias Janmark - Radek Faksa - Denis Gurianov
Scratched: Julius Honka, Valeri Nichushkin
Injured: Tyler Pitlick, Martin Hanzal
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Jamie Oleksiak - Taylor Fedun
Scratched: Connor Carrick
Injured: Marc Methot, Stephen Johns
Injured: Ben Bishop