The show must go on! Tampa Bay Lightning at Montréal Canadiens preview
Things are less grim than you feel they are, and while the loss of Steven Stamkos seems insurmountable, the show - the 2013-14 Tampa Bay Lightning season - must go on.
Where: Bell Centre, Montréal, Quebec
When: 7:30 PM EST | Tickets: Check availability
Media: Sun Sports (cable) | 970 AM WFLA (radio)
Opponent Coverage: Habs Eyes on the Prize, All Habs
The last game of this three game road swing (which is part of a larger span of seven-of-eight on the road) takes place this evening in Quebec. It's the Lightning's season debut against their new divisional opponent, Les Habitants de Montréal, commonly known as the Montréal Canadiens.
It's the flip-side of back-to-back games. I don't think I need to give you the context of yesterday. There is a story stream covering the, ahem, sideshow and Kyle provided a full recap of the game's effort. Tampa Bay goes into Montréal hoping to salvage the last bit of this trip... Though, really, it shouldn't be looked at as "salvaging"; things aren't as grim as they feel. Tampa Bay took two points on Saturday in Detroit with a crucial win. Yesterday was a setback but an all-too-common loss in Boston. It was almost to be expected (though the injuries weren't).
Les Habs, who are currently in 5th place in the "Flortheast" (9-8-1 with 19 points), have had their own injury problems to deal with in the early going; new Canadien Daniel Briere (who signed as a free agent during the off-season) has missed the past 10 games with a concussion suffered during the Habs game against the Nashville Predators on October 19th. He wasn't the only guy sidelined during that game: RW Brandon Purst is also on the shelf and required surgery on his shoulder after that game. He's expected to be out four weeks total.
Briere will be back in the Habs lineup tonight.
Briere and Prust aren't the only injuries the Canadiens have on their roster, but they are two of the most notable.
It's unclear as of this writing who is going to start in net for Montréal, but we should assume it'll be Carey Price. Price is 7-7-1 in 15 games with a formidable .929 save percentage and a 2.20 GAA. Ben Bishop will start between the pipes for the Lightning, which shouldn't be too surprising seeing Anders Lindback started yesterday in Boston (and if anyone wants to give Lindback crap for his performance while his entire team was demoralized, you're just looking for any kind of excuse to do so). It'll be Bishop's 14th start of the season, and this brought up an interesting nugget from our own Clare Austin via Twitter:
Bishop played 13 for Binghamton, 13 for Ottawa, and 9 for Tampa Bay in 2012-13. (35 total games)— Clare Austin (@CAustinRC) November 12, 2013
From the sounds of it, J.T. Brown and Dmitry Korobov will be in the lineup tonight for Tampa Bay. I'm still not clear on how that's going to work on defense more so than on offense. The offensive makeup for Tampa Bay shouldn't be changed too much for tonight - perhaps expect Alex Killorn to play center, with Brown either playing on his wing or on the wing of Tyler Johnson on the 3rd line. Of course, don't be so surprised if Brown ends up in a combination with Martin St. Louis and Valtteri Filppula. He had been playing top-line minutes in Syracuse.
If Korobov plays, I'm going to guess Tampa Bay is going to play an 11/7 roster split, with Pierre-Cedric Labrie likely sitting. If Dmitry does indeed play, it will be his NHL debut.
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