Another early evening game for the Lightning
Time: 4:00 PM Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: USA, TVAS, SN
Opponent SBNation Site: Canes Country
After winning two games in front of thousands of the Carolina Hurricanes fans, the Tampa Bay Lightning dropped Game 3 at Amalie Arena. That’s the second time this postseason when they failed to extend their lead to 3-0 after taking over both opening series on the road. Good news for the Lightning fans, the team haven’t had back-to-back postseason losses since the first-round sweep in the first round of the 2019 Playoffs and were able to bounce back after their defeats in two previous years.
Despite an unsatisfactory result, the Lightning played probably their best game in the second-round series against the Canes. For the first time in three games, the Bolts controlled the possession in the game and had an edge in expected goal share. The Lightning’s power play has also returned to their first-round capacity, converting two out of their three opportunities.
The Lightning, however, lost mostly to themselves, as Nikita Kucherov’s very unnecessary penalty lead to Jordan Staal’s power play goal in overtime. It seemed like Kucherov had gotten away from taking bad penalties after getting a one-game suspension in Game 2 of their first-round series against the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2019 and avoided this situation during their last year’s Stanley Cup run, but still lost control on himself a little bit on Thursday night. Although as Matt fairly noted in his yesterday’s piece, Kucherov’s offensive impact for the team is indisputable, so you just take the good with the bad.
The Canes went with Petr Mrazek instead of Alex Nedeljkovic for Game 3, surprising most of their fans. Nedeljkovic wasn’t necessary bad this series, and other than Barclay Goodrow’s goal in Game 1, he didn’t make any noticeable mistake. The Canes coaching stuff however felt, that this is right time to change something and Mrazek, who didn’t play in the last 24 days, stopped 35 of 37 shots against the Lightning and was one of the best Carolina’s player on Thursday’s night. The strategy of switching goalies didn’t clearly work out for the Panthers earlier this playoffs, so we’ll see if the Canes will benefit on that.
In addition to already injured Nino Niederreiter and Vincent Trocheck, the Canes lost Warren Foegele, who left the last game with an upper-body injury. According to head coach Rod Brind’Amour, Trocheck and Foegele will make an attempt to return for tonight’s game.
Meanwhile David Savard is getting closer to his return. The Lightning defenceman has yet to play against Carolina in the second round, but appeared on the ice during each of last three practice sessions.
Tampa Bay Lightning Lines
Ondrej Palat – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn – Anthony Cirelli – Steven Stamkos
Barclay Goodrow – Yanni Gourde – Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon – Tyler Johnson – Ross Colton
Victor Hedman – Jan Rutta
Ryan McDonagh – Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev – Luke Schenn
Carolina Hurricanes Lines
(according to the previous game, Warren Foegele is questionable for the game)
Andrei Svechnikov – Sebastian Aho – Teuvo Teravainen
Martin Necas – Jordan Staal – Warren Foegele (?)
Brock McGinn – Jordan Martinook – Jesper Fast
Cedric Paquette – Taylor Lorentz – Morgan Geekie
Jaccob Slavin – Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei – Brett Pesce
Jake Bean – Jani Hakanpaa