Injuries and a Calder clash; Tampa Bay Lightning at Calgary Flames preview
The western Canada trip goes on, with major parts of the Lightning lineup falling by the wayside due to ailments. there is a potentially interesting exhibition taking place in this game though, between prized rookies.
Where: Scotiabank Saddledome, Calgary, Alberta
When: 9 PM EDT | Tickets: Check availability
Media: Sun Sports (cable) | 970 AM WFLA (radio) | Twitter Live Stream
Opponent Coverage: Matchsticks and Gasoline, Flames Nation, Calgarypuck
Tonight's contest is the flip side of back-to-back games. Head coach Jon Cooper cited a lack of desperation in play last night at Rexall Place, where the Bolts were shamed at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers, who took home their first victory of the season.
What the Bolts took with them out the door was another forward hurt.
Alex Killorn was dropped from the lineup not by way of just opting-for-the-rookie but because of a spill during morning skate that left him day-to-day with an upper-body injury. That's what led Jonathan Drouin to make his NHL debut last night instead of tonight at Saddledome.
Now add Ryan Callahan to the mix of injured forwards. He went down sometime during the second period and is out of the lineup tonight. The Lightning have recalled Michael Blunden from the Syracuse Crunch to take his place is the lineup. Blunden, another right wing, has 2 goals and 1 assist in 4 games played with Syracuse. He's played a total of 102 NHL games with a few organizations, putting up only 8 points in those contests (4 goals, 4 assists).
Add the Hedman injury (and the fact he's having surgery today) and you got a grand mess that tests depth of the Lightning organization. This is where Tampa Bay isn't just supposed to be able to fill spots with warm bodies when starters go down, but to be able to continue to compete in spite of the challenges brought on by starters dropping from the lineup.
While the Bolts have a couple of days off after this, they also have another back-to-back affair before going back to Tampa; they play in Winnipeg Friday and then St. Paul to take on the Wild on Saturday.
If injuries to the Lightning lineup weren't casting shadows and concerns, we'd be focusing squarely on the (potential) Calder clash taking place tonight at Saddledome. While the eyes or the NHL and expectations dating back to 2013 have Jonathan Drouin slated to be a finalist or at least front runner for the Calder Award for NHL rookie of the year, a name that shouldn't be considered a dark horse is in the lineup for the Flames: John Gaudreau, who has two points in six games for Calgary so far this season.
Gaudreau sounds like a familiar story: A diminutive forward who went the college route instead of through Canadian Juniors. The 21 year old had played for Boston College the past three years. His numbers were amazing last season: 36 goals, 44 assists in 40(!!) games played. He had put up 44 and 51 points the prior two seasons with BU.
Just for note, Drouin was minus-1 last night with one shot on goal and 16:10 of ice time.
In goal, the Lightning will give Ben Bishop the start again. Bishop made 20 saves on 23 shots. While he's credited with going 2-2 on Oilers power play opportunities, he did give up a penalty shot goal to Taylor Hall.
UPDATE: it won't be Bishop starting tonight, but Evgeni Nabokov. There had been a remark from a team source that suggested Bishop would be in net again. Instead, Nabokov gets his second start of the season.
Former Lightning goalie Kari Ramo starts in net for the Calgary Flames. He's putting up impressive numbers in the early going and has earned his spot with Calgary; he's 2-1-0 with a .920 save percentage and 2.30 save percentage.
Other Game Coverage:
- Tampa Bay Lightning official team preview
- Sun Sports
- Full coverage on SB Nation
- Live stream of Tampa Bay Lightning coverage on Twitter