Evgeni Nabokov to start tonight vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Per the beats, Evgeni Nabokov will get the start tonight at Amalie Arena against the Carolina Hurricanes:
#TBLightning associate coach Rick Bowness confirms Nabokov will make 7th start of season tonight vs. Carolina— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) December 11, 2014
The coaching staff claims to want a 60:22 split between Ben Bishop and Nabby,but with Bishop playing 23 of the first 29 games, he's on pace for closer to 65. This will be the first game this season Nabokov has started that wasn't part of a back-to-back situation.
However, another trend with Nabby does continue: using him against opponents further down in the standings. Nabokov has played against New Jersey (22nd), Calgary (11th), Minnesota (16th), Columbus (27th), the Islanders (8th), and Buffalo (30th). Only Calgary and the Isles are in the top half of the league standings right now, and one was a "revenge" game for the former Isles netminder, the other against a Calgary team playing well above their heads.
The Carolina Hurricanes enter play tonight 29th in the standings, ahead of only the Edmonton Oilers. Using Nabokov now leaves Ben Bishop available for the Lightning's next contest, a rematch with the Washington Capitals, who handed the Bolts their first back-to-back losses at home this season in a 5-3 Caps victory at Amalie on Tuesday.