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Lightning Round: Tampa Bay back in action against the Panthers tonight

The penultimate preseason game for the Tampa Bay Lightning will take place tonight at 7:00 PM at Amalie Arena as the Bolts host the Florida Panthers for the middle game of their three-game series this week.

I would expect to see a line-up close to what we can expect in the regular season as the regulars look to get some game action in before the real hockey starts next Tuesday. Matt Tomkins is likely to be in net as he gets his final tune-up as the back-up netminder.

We’ll try and update the lines after the morning practice session to see exactly how Coach Cooper will deploy the lines as he makes the final tweaks to the roster. It’ll be interesting to see if he might include Austin Watson in anticipation of some of the shenanigans from Tuesday’s game in Orlando carrying over into tonight’s contest.

Updated with lines:

Lightning / NHL News

Hugo Alnefelt slips into the third spot on our Top 25 Under 25 countdown for the year [Raw Charge]

It’s always one of the most fun days of the preseason – Amalie Arena announcing the food and beverage choices for the upcoming hockey and concert seasons [WTSP]

Conor Sheary chats with Gabby Shirley about coming to Tampa in the latest edition of New in Blue [Lightning YouTube]

It looks like the general managers will have an idea of what the salary cap might be next season as Uncle Gary is expecting enough revenue this year to settle the escrow issues and bump the cap up a few million to between $87-$88 million. It would be a welcome addition for many teams, including the Lightning. He also talked about RSNs in the interview.

It appears Ballys/Diamond Sports is trying to walk away from broadcasting Arizona Coyotes games this upcoming season. If the court allows them to break this broadcast agreement, it’s possible that they might be able to get out from their deals with other franchises (including the Lightning). Bettman did indicate in the interview linked above that the league does have alternatives in place if Diamond Sports isn’t broadcasting.

Could the NHL be looking at Atlanta as an expansion (or relocation) city sometime in the near future? It seems possible, even though some Georgia fans say that South Forsyth isn’t in downtown Atlanta.

There were no goaltenders placed on waivers yesterday so we’re another day closer to Jonas Johansson and Matt Tomkins as the starting duo for the Lightning, but an old friend in Cal Foote did show up on the list. The Bolts should claim him just to continue to recoup the assets they traded to Nashville for Tanner Jeannot.

You had me at “NHL Redzone”.

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