Tampa Bay Lightning at Vegas Golden Knights Preview and Game Day Thread
A road trip finale
Tampa Bay Lightning at Vegas Golden Knights: GAME #55
Time: 10:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: T-Mobile Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUNX, ATTSN-RM, ESPN+, HULU
Opponent SBNation Site: Knights On Ice
The Tampa Bay Lightning are finishing their road trip with a 2-0-1 record — a great result, which was only spoiled by a Connor Ingram’s revenge performance, as he singlehandidly stole a point from the team that drafted him. Before coming back to Amalie Arena, the Lightning will face the Vegas Golden Knights tonight at T-Mobile Arena in a very late game.
Given the Lightning’s struggles on the road this season, this road trip could be already considered as successful. They earned two wins against two strong playoff contenders and managed to earn a point in the second half of their back-to-back. The Bolts are still very close to the Toronto Maple Leafs in their race for a home-ice advantage in the first round and have a game in hand, while sitting just one point behind.
In their short history of head-to-head games, the Lightning have a 3-3-2 record against the Golden Knights and a 2-2-0 record at T-Mobile Arena, including a 4-3 win over Vegas in their last game at this venue on November 21, 2021.
Going into tonight’s game, the Lightning have a three-game power play goal drought, despite having 10 opportunities over this span. In fairness, the Bolts also didn’t allow any opponent’s power play goals during those three games. Defensively the Lightning have been very strong recently, conceding just five goals in their last four games. Andrei Vasilevskiy has also been pretty reliable since allowing seven goals in a game against the Florida Panthers, posting three wins with a .962 save percentage and 1.30 GAA after that.
Meanwhile, the Golden Knights are coming off a four-game winning streak, moving up position in the standings after a very challenging January, where they lost eight out of 12 games that month. Currently they’re sitting first in the Central Division, but the wild card spot isn’t that far behind. After missing the playoffs last year, Vegas definitely cannot let this happen for the second year in a row.
For the second year in a row, however, the Golden Knights will be without their captain Mark Stone, who underwent back surgery last month and is out indefinitely. This is his second back surgery over the last year, in 2021-22 Stone also missed more than a half of the season, which damaged his team’s chances to make playoffs. Vegas is also temporarily without their starting goalie Logan Thompson, who suffered an injury during a game against the Minnesota Wild last week.
Chandler Stephenson is currently leading his team in points with 12 goals and 36 assists in 55 games. Jack Eichel is second with 39 points in 42 games. That’s an improvement over his first season with the Golden Knights, which was overshadowed by recovering from artificial disk replacement surgery, but he still couldn’t return to his point-per-game level.
Overall the Golden Knights’ special units have been pretty average this season as they rank 18th with 21.4 PP% and 17th with 79.6 PK%. At 5-on-5 the Golden Knights are slightly under the water with 49.72 CF%, but one of the better teams in the league in expected goal share, ranking 6th with 53.09 xGF%.
Tampa Bay Lightning at Vegas Golden Knights Comparison
|Game # 55||Tampa Bay Lightning||Vegas Golden Knights|
Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines
Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Steven Stamkos - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Ross Colton - Nick Paul - Pat Maroon
Vlad Namestnikov - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev - Erik Cernak
Ian Cole - Nick Perbix
Vegas Golden Knights Potential Lines
Paul Cotter - Jack Eichel - Jonathan Marchessault
Reilly Smith - William Karlsson - Michael Amadio
William Carrier - Chandler Stephenson - Phil Kessel
Brett Howden - Nicolas Roy - Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez - Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb - Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague - Zach Whitecloud