Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals preview: Bolts visit DC on Thanksgiving weekend

Steven Stamkos might return tonight.

Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals Game 23

Time: 5:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Capital One Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: Fox Sports Sun

Opponent SBNation Site: Japers Rink


After hosting the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues, the Tampa Bay Lightning are heading to Washington to face the 2018 champion Washington Capitals. This is also going to be the first leg of back-to-back games on this Thanksgiving weekend.

The Bolts are hoping that Steven Stamkos will be ready to play tonight. The Lightning captain hasn’t played since Thursday of last week against the Blackhawks but has started practicing.

In his absence, the Lightning tried different combinations, swapping from playing with 12 forwards and six defenders to 11F/7D. After playing against the Buffalo Sabres, Carter Verhaeghe was scratched against the Blues and Jan Rutta returned to the lineup. Verhaeghe played just four times during November. Despite Verhaeghe posting good numbers (aside from scoring), the coaching staff still prefer Cory Conacher over him.

These were the lines in morning skate:

Based on this, it looks like Stamkos is likely to return tonight but the team will continue to use an 11/7 alignment with Verhaeghe scratched.

Erik Cernak will miss the tonight’s game due to his two game suspension, but will be able to play tomorrow against the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Washington Capitals are also dealing with some injury problems. Nicklas Backsrtom missed the last three games with an upper body injury and according to Samantha Pell of The Washington Post, won’t play tonight against the Lightning. His Swedish teammate Carl Hagelin had been placed on long term injury reserved and will also miss tonight’s game. Due to injuries, the Capitals have slowed down a little bit, losing two of the last three games. But it didn’t affect their place in the standing. After 26 games this season, the Caps are currently first in the Metropolitan division and among the best teams in the whole league.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mathieu Joseph

Patrick Maroon - Cedric Paquette - Yanni Gourde

Carter Verhaeghe - Tyler Johnson - Cory Conacher

Injured: Steven Stamkos

Defense Pairings

Victor Hedman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Ryan McDonagh - Braydon Coburn

Mikhail Sergachev - Luke Schenn

Jan Rutta

Suspended: Erik Cernak


Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Washington Capitals

Forward Lines

Alex Ovechkin - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Tom Wilson

Jakub Vrana - Lars Eller - T.J. Oshie

Richard Panik - Chandler Stephenson - Travis Boyd

Beck Malenstyn - Nic Dowd - Brendan Leipsic

Defense Pairings

Michal Kempny - John Carlson

Dmitry Orlov - Nick Jensen

Jonas Siegenthaler - Radko Gudas


Braden Holtby

Ilya Samsonov

Injuried: Nicklas Backstrom, Carl Hagelin