Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators Preview and Game Day Thread
The Bolts found themselves in a very depleted condition nine days ahead of the playoffs.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Ottawa Senators: GAME #80
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Canadian Tire Centre
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, SN360, CITY, ESPN+, HULU
Opponent's Site: Silver Seven
With less than two weeks before the start of the postseason, all of the remaining games have no playoff implications for the Tampa Bay Lightning. After a loss to the New York Islanders in the previous game, the Lightning lost their hopes for home-ice advantage in the first round and will finish the regular season in the third spot in the Atlantic Division.
That said the Bolts found themselves very vulnerable ahead of the playoffs, as the injuries started to pile up recently. Anthony Cirell, Brandon Hagel and Erik Cernak all missed Thursday's game due to various injuries and listed as day-to-day currently. Tanner Jeannot and Pat Maroon didn't finish the last game either and while Maroon's injury shouldn't be long-term, Jeannot's one is more concerning. The team didn't provide any updates on their status so far.
Given that there's less than 10 games and 24 days left in the regular season, the Lightning can't put Jeannot on LTIR. They would also need to play at least one game with a skater short line-up to use an emergency recall for the rest of the regular season. So, it wouldn't be very surprising to see some of the defencemen being used as a forward, like they already did with Haydn Fleury in the previous game against the Isles.
Meanwhile the Ottawa Senators were officially eliminated from the playoff contention last Thursday, making the rest of the regular season pretty much meaningless for themselves as well. Despite that, the Senators made a huge step forward this season. They're currently at 81 points after 79 regular season games and .513 point percentage, which is their best result since 2016-17 season, when they ended up losing in the Eastern Conference Final to the future champions Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Senators young core are showing some pretty promising results this season. Tim Stützle is leading the team in points with 84 (37+47) in 79 games, which is also a top-20 result in the whole league. Brady Tkachuk is currently second in points on his team, recording his career-high season with 79 points in 79 games so far. Rookies Shane Pinto and Jake Sanderson finish their first full-season in the NHL with 33 and 29 points respectively. Claude Giroux also became a great signing for the team, his 74 points this season is his best result since 2018-19 season and his 31 goals is just three goals shy of tying his best result in goals during a single season in his career.
The Senators are entering tonight's contest against the Lightning with a four-game losing streak, including a 7-2 loss against the Florida Panthers on Thursday, where they lost despite recording 58 shots on the opponent's net.
The Lightning are 1-1-0 in two games against Ottawa this season, with the Senators outscoring them 10-6 in those games. Their last game on March 23 ended with a huge 7-2 loss for the Bolts.
Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines
Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel (?) - Nick Paul - Ross Colton
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli (?) - Pat Maroon (?)
Michael Eyssimont (?) - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Nick Perbix
Mikhail Sergachev - Darren Raddysh
Ian Cole - Erik Cernak
Ottawa Senators Potential Lines
Brady Tkachuk - Tim Stützle - Drake Batherson
Alex DeBrincat - Ridly Greig - Claude Giroux
Mathieu Joseph - Shane Pinto - Yegor Sokolov
Patrik Brown - Mark Kastelic - Austin Watson
Jake Sanderson - Artem Zub
Erik Brannstrom - Nick Holden
Tyler Kleven - Jacob Bernard-Docker