Leading up to the Carolina Hurricanes' home opener, it's time to take a look at who will be in the visitor's locker room tonight. For this installment of Three Questions, please give a warm welcome to Cassie McClellan, who has been writing about the Tampa Bay Lightning for longer than I can remember and is currently one of the managing editors of SBN's Raw Charge blog. Cassie will give us insight on what the Canes can expect from Guy Boucher's charges tonight.
- How confident are the Lightning that they have their goalie of the future in Anders Lindback? What is the split in starts between Lindback and Mathieu Garon expected to be?
The Lightning are pretty confident in Anders Lindback as their number one goalie. Or, at least, he's being given the first shot at being the number one. Mathieu Garon was given that opportunity last season, but he didn't quite have the knack to be able to steal games for the team, which is why Lindback was brought in. I would expect Lindback to get the majority of the starts, at least at first. Right now, the number one spot is really his to lose.
- Assuming another big year from Steven Stamkos (say, 25 goals and/or 50 points in the shortened season), what else needs to happen, if anything, for the Lightning to make a push to claim a playoff spot?
Steven Stamkos will definitely be a big part in most Lightning wins, but also look out for rookie Cory Conacher to contribute quite a bit as well. Frankly, the Lightning have a lot of offensive threats, and they play a high risk/high reward style of play. Scoring won't usually be much of a problem for them. Outside of scoring, however, the Lightning are going to need to be more consistent with overall team defense. That has been a problem for them for a while now, and while that has gotten better, it's still a work in progress.
- Is there a succession plan in place for the defense given that the Lightning have likely seen the last of Mattias Ohlund and Sami Salo isn't getting any younger? What kind of help will Victor Hedman have this year, or will it wind up as a "Hedman and everyone else" situation?
While Victor Hedman is certainly a key player on the blue line for the Lightning, Eric Brewer and Matt Carle bring some experience and depth to the position. Sami Salo was brought in this season to help provide some leadership at the position, and additional experience as well. Mattias Ohlund has all but retired due to knee issues, at this point, so anything he can contribute will be off-ice only. The Lightning actually have some great defensive depth in their AHL affiliate Syracuse, so even if injuries happen this season, the Lightning will be well covered.