Tampa Bay Lightning at Chicago Blackhawks Preview and Game Day Thread
The Lightning look to continue a long winning streak in Chicago.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Chicago Blackhawks: GAME#35
Time: 8:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: United Center
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, NBCSCH, Hulu, ESPN+
Opponent SBNation Site: Second City Hockey
DraftKings Line: Lightning -1.5 O/U 6.5
The Tampa Bay Lightning kick off the 2023 portion of their schedule (and a three-game road trip) in The Windy City tonight against the Chicago Blackhawks. Lets face it, this is a game they should win. While the Bolts have their eyes set on the playoffs and another run at the Stanley Cup, it wouldn’t be surprising if most of the Chicagoland area is focusing more on how Connor Bedard is doing than how Connor Murphy is playing.
As it stands right now, Chicago, currently in last play in the league, has the best odds of landing the dynamic playmaker who is tearing up the World Juniors right now. They’ve lost four in a row and are 1-9 in their last 10 games. While the banners still hang from the rafters, the glory of their run in the 2010s is fading fast.
Not only is there a talent gap between the two teams currently, the Lightning have always fared pretty well against Chicago with an all-time record of 32-15-5-4 against them including a 14-7-0-3 record in the United Center. Oh, and they haven’t lost in regulation in Chicago since December 13, 2009, going 10-1-3 during that stretch. Victor Hedman and Steven Stamkos are the only Lightning players to still be on the roster from that 4-0 loss while Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are the only Chicago players who remember what it’s like to beat the Lightning at home (bonus points to current Lightning LTIR member Brent Seabrook for his two assists in that game).
However, the Lightning can’t let history or current struggles allow them to take it easy tonight. Chicago does have enough talent to put Lightning mistakes into the back of the net. Kane is still up to his old tricks with 27 points (7 goals, 20 assists) in 36 games while Jonathan Toews has rediscovered his goal-scoring tough with 11 in 35 games, just one off the total he put up last season.
Some familiar names dot the ‘Hawks roster as Tyler Johnson has persevered through some injuries to earn a spot on their top line with 8 points (3 goals, 5 assists) in just 14 games. Taylor Raddysh has discovered his goal-scoring with 10 goals (second on the team behind Toews and Max Domi) while Boris Katchouk has 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists) while finding time on the fourth line.
For the Lightning, it’s a matter of going out and executing their game plan and limiting their turnovers. With the roster pretty much healthy at this point (Rudy Balcers is still out, but is practicing with the team) it’s a matter of finding the right combinations outside of the top line in order to generate depth scoring. The team can’t go into the playoffs relying on just their power play and the Brayden Point line to provide all of the offense. Based on yesterday’s practice lines it appears Anthony Cirelli and Alex Killorn will flank Stamkos on the second line while Nick Paul, Ross Colton, and Patrick Maroon make up the third line.
For Stamkos, he enters action with 498 career goals against a team that he has scored 16 goals in 25 games against.
If the Bolts stay disciplined and committed to their game plan, they should kick off 2023 with a nice win.
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Chicago Blackhawks
|Game #35||Tampa Bay Lightning||Chicago Blackhawks|
Tampa Bay Lightning
Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Anthony Cirelli - Steven Stamkos - Alex Killorn
Ross Colton - Nick Paul - Patrick Maroon
Vlad Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix
Ian Cole - Erik Cernak
Chicago Blackhawks Potential Lines
Tyler Johnson — Max Domi — Patrick Kane
Phillip Kurashev — Jonathan Toews — Tyler Raddysh
Andreas Athanasiou — Jason Dickinson — Sam Lafferty
Boris Katchouk — Reese Johnson — Colin Blackwell
Jake McCabe — Seth Jones
Isaak Phillips — Connor Murphy
Jack Johnson — Caleb Jones