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Tampa Bay Lightning vs. New Jersey Devils Preview: Another Saturday, another TB-NJ game

Devils at Bolts: Game 12

Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: Sun, MSG+

Opponent SBNation Site: All About the Jersey | AATJ Game Preview


I’ve gotten into the habit of writing the game previews while I watch soccer on Saturday mornings. And for the second consecutive week, I’m writing a preview of the Lightning against the New Jersey Devils. Today is the third game of an early season three-game series between the two teams with each having won once at home. The game today is at Amalie, and the Lightning will be looking to bounce back from a shootout loss to the Bruins while the Devils look to do the same after an overtime loss to Florida.

Last Saturday, the Lightning were preparing to play without a dynamic winger and that theme carries over to this week’s game. But the player has changed. Instead of missing Nikita Kucherov as they were in the 3-1 loss to NJ on October 29th, the Lightning will be without Jonathan Drouin for the second consecutive game. Drouin’s absence deprives the Lightning of one of their most creative offensive players but it does make head coach Jon Cooper’s life easier as he doesn’t have to choose between rookie dynamo Brayden Point and Drouin in the top six.

The Lightning will go into the game looking to avoid the trend of falling behind early to the Devils. In each of the first two games this season, Tampa trailed 2-0 in the first period. While they didn’t play poorly last week in the first period, the results didn’t go in their favor, and they’ll hope for a different outcome this time. But if they can replicate that start where they outshot NJ 16-6 and outchanced them 8-3, they likely won’t find themselves in a 2-0 hole again.

While the Lightning have been harping on the idea of starting strong, New Jersey has been facing the opposite issue. Their third periods have been consistently poor this season. All About the Jersey highlights some of the struggles in their game preview. And on Twitter, Ryan Stimson has hinted that the issues could be due to an issue with the Devils system and forechecking late in games. He will be releasing the data on Monday to support that idea.

Comparison chart:

Going into the game, one thing to watch will be the frequency of scoring chances for each team. Both teams are in the top five in preventing scoring chances and the bottom five in generating scoring chances. That suggests that scoring chances for either side will be limited tonight and finishing them will be even more important than in a typical game.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat  – Steven Stamkos  – Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn  – Tyler Johnson  – Brayden Point

Ryan Callahan – Valtteri Filppula – Vlad Namestnikov

J.T. Brown  – Brian Boyle  – Cedric Paquette

Defence Pairings

Victor Hedman  – Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison  – Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn – Nikita Nesterov


Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

New Jersey Devils

Forward Lines

Taylor Hall  – Travis Zajac  – Kyle Palmieri

Mike Camalleri  – Adam Henrique  – Devonte Smith-Pelley

Beau Bennett – Pavel Zacha – P.A Parenteau

Sergey Kalinin  – Vernon Fiddler  – Nick Lappin

Defence Pairings

Andy Greene  – Damon Severson

Yohann Auvitu  – Ben Lovejoy

John Moore – Kyle Quincey


Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

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