One team is fighting for first place and the other is fighting for a spot in the playoffs
Time: 7:00 pm ET
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: BSSun, ESPN+
Opponent SBNation Site: Defending Big D
The Tampa Bay Lightning have three regular season home games left this year. All three are against the Dallas Stars: tonight and two games next week. It’s also the last game of April, a month the Lightning are happy to put behind them.
They are 9-5 on the month, which seems a lot better than expected. Sure, there were some clunkers in there (5-1 loss to Detroit and 7-2 to Nashville) but they played well enough to clinch a playoff spot and stay in the chase for the top spot in the Central. They start the day in third place, but just one point behind Florida and three behind Carolina. They still have have two games in hand on Florida and should be able to leapfrog them if they keep their three-game winning streak going.
As if Dallas’ season hasn’t been tough enough, what with the COVID outbreak early, historic ice storm, injuries to major players like Ben Bishop and Alex Radulov, and a month full of back-to-back games every week, they now have to end it with a seven-game road trip. Despite all of that they are still in the hunt for the fourth spot in the Central. They are two points behind Nashville (who they play after the Lightning and have two games in hand) and five points ahead of sixth place Chicago.
Could the schedule finally be catching up with them? Possibly. The injuries might also be catching up as well. They’ve been without Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop all season. Alex Radulov made a brief appearance before shutting it down and Roope Hintz has been dealing with an injury all season. They won’t find any sympathy from the Lightning or their fans, but it’s still a factor in the struggles of the defending Western Conference Champions.
It’s also given them a chance to discover a few gems in their system. Jake Oettinger looks like a potential goaltender of the future while Jason Robertson is making a late push for rookie of the year. If they do limp into the playoffs they may have Seguin back and who knows what might happen?
The Lightning need to take some of that offensive fire they displayed in Chicago and tighten up their defense to pull this one out. They have taken four of the five head-to-head match-ups so far by scoring 3.20 goals per game and allowing just 1.60 while posting two shutout against them.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat – Brayden Point – Alex Barre-Boulet
Alex Killorn – Anthony Cirelli – Tyler Johnson
Barclay Goodrow – Yanni Gourde – Blake Coleman
Patrick Maroon – Ross Colton – Mathieu Joseph
Victor Hedman – Erik Cernak
Ryan McDonagh – David Savard (?)
Mikhail Sergachev – Luke Schenn
Cal Foote – we should know more about Savard after the morning skate
Jason Robertson – Roope Hintz – Joe Pavelski
Jamie Benn – Jason Dickinson – Denis Gurianov
Andrew Cogliano – Radek Faksa – Blake Comeau
Tanner Kero – Justin Dowling – Mark Pysyk
Esa Lindell – Sami Vatanen
Jamie Oleksiak – Miro Heiskanen
Joel Hanley – Andrej Sekera