Vegas Golden Knights at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview and Game Day Thread
Oh look, another team fighting for a playoff spot. Great.
Vegas Golden Knights at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME #65
Time: 7:00 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSUN, ATTSN-RM, HULU, ESPN+
Opponent SBNation Site: Knights on Ice
After a nice one-game break of playing teams that are scrapping for every point possible, the Lightning face yet another team desperate for wins. The Vegas Golden Knights may enter the game tonight in first place in the Pacific Division, but their lead over the Los Angeles Kings is tenuous at best. Both teams have 82 points, with the Golden Knights doing it in one fewer game, hence the spot atop of the standings.
Not only are the Kings chasing them, but the Seattle Kraken are just two points back and the Edmonton Oilers, the first wild card team as of right now, are only four points back. The home stretch of the season in the Western Conference is going to be wild.
The Golden Knights have put themselves in contention with a nice stretch of play since the All-Star Break. They are 9-2-2 since the break and are allowing just 2.19 goals per game over that stretch. What’s been most impressive is that they’ve gone on this run with their third-string goaltender. Since February 6th, Adin Hill has posted a .931 SV%, 1.45 GAA, and a 7.41 GSAx.
Unfortunately, since he is a Vegas goaltender, he has to suffer an injury. Like Robin Lehner and Logan Thompson before him, Hill has suffered a lower-body injury. It appears the injury occurred some time in his most recent outing, a 40-save effort in a 2-1 loss to the Florida Panthers. Jonathan Quick, picked up at the deadline, will likely make the start against the Lightning tonight.
The solid goaltending has helped carry a team that is missing two of it’s best offensive weapons in Mark Stone and William Carrier, both out indefinitely. The loss of two of their better forwards may explain why the power play has been dreadful of late. Since January 1st, the Golden Knights have a 10.2% success rate, scoring just 5 goals on 49 opportunities during that stretch. Their 2.82 GF/60 at 5v5 has helped them offset that lack of production, but don’t expect too much offense from them tonight.
As for the Lightning, they snapped their five-game winless streak the last time out, with a nice 5-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. A win that was aided by 3 power play goals. It was a solid win against a struggling team where they did show some improvement, but there is still some work to be done. While the Lightning did have the edge at 5v5, it wasn’t at the margin you would expect against a team that is scuffling like the Flyers. They did have a nice 26-17 edge in scoring chance at 5v5 their last time out, but the high-danger chances were only 7-6. It would be nice to see the number of good looks go up tonight.
There is a good chance that Victor Hedman will be back in the line-up. He was a participant in practice on Wednesday after missing the game against the Flyers. Pierre-Edouard Bellemare did not practice and is considered day-to-day with Michael Essyimont filling in as the fourth-line center.
It was a good showing for the bottom two lines against the Flyers as they combined for a 24-16 edge in shot attempts and a 14-6 edge in scoring chances. The third line also contributed a goal from Ross Colton at 5v5. Eyssimont had a strong home debut with 10 shot attempts, 4 shots on goal, 2 takeaways, and 2 hits at 5v5.
Tonight’s game will be a good indicator on if the win against the Flyers was a stepping stone on the path back to consistency, or an aberration for a team that is still in a funk.
Vegas at Tampa Bay Comparison
|Game #65||Tampa Bay Lightning||Vegas Golden Knights|
Tampa Bay Lightning Potential Lines
Steven Stamkos - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Brandon Hagel - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Ross Colton - Nick Paul - Tanner Jeannot
Pat Maroon - Michael Eyssimont - Corey Perry
Victor Hedman (?) - Zach Bogosian
Ian Cole - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Nick Perbix
Vegas Golden Knights Potential Lines
Ivan Barbashev — Jack Eichel — Jonathan Marchessault
Reilly Smith — William Karlsson — Michael Amadio
Paul Cotter — Chandler Stephenson — Phil Kessel
Brett Howden — Teddy Blueger — Keegan Kolesar
Alec Martinez — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Shea Theodore
Nicolas Hague — Zach Whitecloud