Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview: Game One is Go!
Steady on the rudder, let’s go for another year.
Florida Panthers at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #1
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: AMALIE Arena - Tampa, Florida
Broadcast/Streaming: Fox Sports Sun
Opponent SBNation Site: Litter Box Cats
Another October, another season. It was a long summer, and seemingly an even longer preseason, but we’re here and the most exciting team in hockey is ready for a new campaign.
Last playoffs were a random set of four games. Anything could’ve happened in them. The roll of the dice just came out on the extreme negative side of the Bolts. That doesn’t justify any of the gross media narratives that keep sewing fear and fault in this Lightning team. Nothing should have changed, and nothing has changed.
Of course, there will be system adjustments as the league evolves and the coaches stay on the cutting edge, but the aspects that make the Lightning special are still there and are still at the forefront.
It’s good to see “gritty” players like Luke Witkowsky and Patrick Maroon on the team, they’re here to provide a solid presence from the back end like Ryan Callahan did until the tail end of last year. That does not mean the Lightning will turn into a gooning team. Far from it, the more the team stays at 5v5 and 5v4, the more likely they are going to win games. Bullies don’t prosper.
Brayden Point was expected to miss a month starting in October, but that timeline has continually come down in the past weeks. So far, he’s been practicing since Monday and should be back within the next 3-4 weeks. The thread below by Dr. Harjas Grewal provides an amazing perspective from an actual doctor and not someone like me, who just plays one on TV. I’m kidding, I’m not on TV, I just have a series on Hulu.
Brayden Point's Hip Surgery— Dr. Harjas Grewal (@Harjas_Grewal) September 25, 2019
What we know:
- played last game of @TBLightning season
- hip surgery in "spring"
- has been skating "for a number of weeks"
- projected back by late October
What we don't know:
- exact injury
- exact procedure
- exact surgery date
- how rehab went
Just to close out the NHL injuries, Cedric Paquette is also dealing with an injury suffered in the last game of the preseason. So far, we know it’s an arm injury and he’ll be set to return after the first few games. Perhaps a midweek return against the Toronto Maple Leafs?
For the Panthers, they’ve revamped their lineup for this year, adding former Columbus goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, Washington’s Brett Connolly, Boston’s Noel Acciari and Frank Vatrano, and our very own Anton Stralman. The team hopes a new investment in depth will help them push from the lower third of the half of the league to the top half, and hopefully the playoffs. They still don’t have a backup goaltender (Sam is not very good), but the team... is a team for sure. For some deeper reading, check out Matthew’s Atlantic “Contender” article. Florida is on the list.
2019-2020 Atlantic Division preview: The contenders
Tampa Bay Lightning
Steven Stamkos - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov
Ondrej Palat - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Carter Verhaeghe - Yanni Gourde - Mathieu Joseph
Patrick Maroon - Gemel Smith - Luke Witkowski
Victor Hedman - Kevin Shattenkirk
Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Braydon Coburn - Mikhail Sergachev
Kucherov - Johnson - Stamkos
Sergachev - Killorn - Verhaeghe
Jonathan Huberdeau - Aleksander Barkov - Evgenii Dadonov
Mike Hoffman - Vincent Trocheck - Brett Connolly
Denis Malgin - Henrik Borgstrom - Frank Vatrano
Dryden Hunt - Noel Acciari - Colton Sceviour
Mike Matheson - Aaron Ekblad
Keith Yandle - Josh Brown
MacKenzie Weegar - Anton Stralman
Hoffman - Dadonov - Huberdeau
Vatrano - Borgstrom - Trocheck