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Tampa Bay Lightning vs Washington Capitals Rematch Preview and Game Thread

Tampa Bay Lightning vs Washington Capitals: GAME#15
Time: 7:00 pm ET
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: ESPN, SlingTV
Opponent SBNation Site: Japers Rink

The best thing to do when you’ve fallen off the horse is to get right back on it. But I guess in this case “falling off the horse” is getting a high hit over the blue line that’s worth a three game suspension. And getting back on the horse is recovering from a 5-1 loss two nights ago.


Lackluster effort from Lightning leads to uninspired loss


Tonight will be a chance to re-energize the power play, take better care of the puck getting out of the defensive zone, and play at a faster pace overall. It’ll also be a chance to play the game with a healthy defense group. Morning skate gave us an update on that:

Mikhail Sergachev had to leave Friday’s game after blocking an Ovechkin shot, but he was at morning skate today and will play tonight on the second pair. However, Cal Foote and Erik Cernak were not present and won’t play tonight. On the bright side, both are considered day-to-day.

Also on Saturday the Lightning claimed forward Rudolfs Balcers off waivers from the Florida Panthers (who needed the space to activate Aaron Ekblad). Balcers is a 25-year-old left winger from Latvia. He was drafted by San Jose in 2015 but started his career in Ottawa after being traded for Erik Karlsson. He then made his way back to San Jose via waivers for two years before signing as a free agent with Florida. Now he’s here.


Tampa Bay Lightning reportedly claim Rudolfs Balcers off of waivers from Florida Panthers
Season Review: Balcers Coming Into Make-Or-Break Year


Balcers was at morning skate, but won’t be in the lineup tonight as he gets acclimated to the structure first. Balcers is considered a bottom six winger (San Jose Hockey Now article linked above) who works hard in his own end with a quick stick. Unfortunately the Sharks were hoping for more out of him, namely in the form of taking on a penalty kill role and scoring more to be a third liner. Alas, he’s settled as a fourth liner which is how it goes.

Lightning Lines

The Lightning are going into tonight with the same forward lines as last night, but with a mostly different defense. Nick Perbix is back with Sergachev. Hedman is with Cole, who comes in for Cernak. Fleury is joined by Myers on the third pair, replacing Foote. Vasy starts.

Forwards

Brandon Hagel – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn – Nick Paul – Steven Stamkos
Ross Colton – Vladislav Namestnikov – Cole Koepke
Pat Maroon – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Corey Perry

Defenders

Victor Hedman – Ian Cole
Mikhail Sergachev – Nick Perbix
Haydn Fleury – Philippe Myers

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy – confirmed starter
Brian Elliott

Washington Capitals

The Capitals will have Connor McMichael replace Nicolas Aube-Kubel, who is suspended for three games starting tonight. The rest of their lineup stays the same.

Forwards

Alex Ovechkin – Evgeny Kuznetsov – Conor Sheary
Sonny Milano – Dylan Strome – Marcus Johansson
Connor McMichael – Lars Eller – Anthony Mantha
Aliaksei Protas – Nic Dowd – Garnet Hathaway

Defenders

Erik Gustafsson – John Carlson
Martin Fehervary – Nick Jensen
Matt Irwin – Trevor van Riemsdyk

Goalies

Darcy Kuemper – confirmed starter
Charlie Lindgren

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