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Nashville Predators at Tampa Bay Lightning: Game Day Preview

Sep 27, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Nashville Predators defenseman Ryan McDonagh (27) waits for a face off during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Game #1: Nashville Predators (0-0-0-) at Tampa Bay Lightning (0-0-0-0)

Time: 5:30 PM

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN, ESPN+

Opponent’s Site: On the Forecheck

DraftKings Line: Lightning -1.5, O/U 6.5


Here. We. Go.

After the longest offseason in recent memory, a healthy and rested Tampa Bay Lightning team is ready to kick off the 2023-24 season. Coming off a strong preseason, the Bolts roll out their new roster in their first home game of the season. Based on the lines in practice yesterday it appears Tyler Motte will get the first crack at earning playing time on the second line while Conor Sheary will join Nick Paul and Mikey Eyssimont on the third line.

At first glance, the Lightning should achieve general manager Julien BriseBois’ goal of being a tough team to play against on a nightly basis. The question will be if they can generate enough offense to take the pressure off of the top line which features their three best players in Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, and Nikita Kucherov.

On the back-end, the defense looks similar to what we saw at the end of last season with the exception of Calvin de Haan taking Ian Cole’s spot. Darren Raddysh appears to have earned the nod over Zach Bogosian and Haydn Fleury and will get a run as an everyday player after impressing at the end of last season.

Of course, all eyes will be on the net as Jonas Johansson makes his Lightning debut a bit earlier than everyone was expecting. He did everything the team asked in preseason, allowing just two goals over three games. Now he has to show everyone that he can carry it over into the regular season and hold the fort down until Andrei Vasilevskiy is healthy enough to return to active duty.

His first test will be the Nashville Predators, a team that just missed the playoffs last season, but still went out and did a bit of an overhaul on their roster. Most notably up front they brought in Ryan O’Reilly (who Lightning fans remember all too well from last spring) to be their number one center. They also added some depth to their forward ranks in Gus Nyquist and Denis Gurianov.

On defense, old friend Luke Schenn appears to have earned a spot on the top pairing with Roman Josi while Ryan McDonagh is anchoring the second pair. Their fortunes, however, will lie in net with Juuse Saros. Entering his third year as the undisputed starter in net, Saros has a career 2.58 GAA and .919 SV%. His 45.08 GSAx last year was second in the league, trailing only Ilya Sorokin.

New head coach Andrew Brunette and new general manager Barry Trotz are looking to bring the Predators back into playoff contention and among the familiar veteran names they have sprinkled in the next generation of forwards as Luke Evangelista (21), Philip Tomansino (22), and Juuso Parssinen (22) should all be in the line-up tonight.

The Predators will be a solid test for the Lightning as they have a solid defense and some speed up front.

Stats Match-Up

Game #1Tampa Bay LightningNashville Predators
Overall Record46-30-642-32-8
Home Record28-8-522-15-4
Road Record18-22-120-17-4
Goals For283229
Goals Against254238
Data based on 2022-23 final regular season numbers and provided by Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com

Projected Tampa Bay Lightning Lines


Steven Stamkos – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov

Brandon Hagel – Anthony Cirelli – Tyler Motte

Michael Eyssimont – Nick Paul – Conor Sherary

Tanner Jeannot – Luke Glendenning – Waltteri Merela


Victor Hedman – Nick Perbix

Mikhail Sergachev – Darren Raddysh

Calvin de Haan – Erik Cernak


Jonas Johansson

Matt Tompkins

Based on Monday’s practice.

Projected Nashville Predators Lines


Filip Forsberg – Ryan O’Reilly – Juuso Parssinen

Gustav Nyquist – Cody Glass – Kiefer Sherwood

Philip Tomasino – Tommy Novak – Luke Evangelista

Yakov Trenin – Colton Sissons – Cole Smith


Roman Josi – Luke Schenn

Ryan McDonagh – Alex Carrier

Jeremy Lauzon – Tyson Barrie


Juuse Saros

Kevin Lankinen

Based on Monday’s practice.

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