You wouldn’t know it from the weather, but we’ve officially entered spring. With old man winter slow to release his grasp on the Triangle, two forces of nature will meet tonight at PNC Arena for their third and final meeting of the regular season.
The two prior meetings in the season series came in Tampa Bay. The Hurricanes lost both by two goals each, a 4-2 loss in October, and a 3-1 loss in January. Both teams are playing well of late. The Canes are 6-2-1 in March and the Lightning are 7-1-0.
For Rod Brind’Amour, tonight’s lineup should be mostly the same from Tuesday’s game against the Penguins. There are two question marks in the lineup though. Calvin de Haan will likely be a game time decision. He has been practicing with a full cage after sustaining a serious eye injury in Denver. Expect Haydn Fleury to be back in the lineup if de Haan can’t go.
It looks as though Warren Foegele will draw back into the lineup after being the healthy extra on Tuesday. Curtis McElhinney will get the start after Petr Mrazek went 65+ minutes in the shootout win over Pittsburgh.
Below is the Canes’ projected lineup:
Nino Niederreiter - Sebastian Aho - Justin Williams
Andrei Svechnikov - Jordan Staal - Teuvo Teravainen
Micheal Ferland - Lucas Wallmark - Jordan Martinook
Warren Foegele - Greg McKegg - Brock McGinn
Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brett Pesce - Justin Faulk
Calvin de Haan - Trevor van Riemsdyk
Scratches: Haydn Fleury (healthy), Saku Maenalanen (healthy)
To say the Tampa Bay Lightning are having a good season is a true understatement. The team has already secured the Presidents’ Trophy (awarded to the team who finishes regular season with the most points). They’ve done it in record time and are on pace for 128 points. The all-time records for both wins and points are within reach (132 points by 1976-77 Canadiens and 62 wins by the 1995-96 Red Wings).
The statistics and analytics back up the results. The Lightning are 1st in goals scored, 4th in goals allowed, 1st in power play percentage, and 1st in penalty killing. Nikita Kucherov is the NHL points leader. They have three 30-goal scorers already: Kucherov (35), Steven Stamkos (36) and Brayden Point (38). It goes on and on, but you get the idea. The Canes will need a tremendous effort against the Lightning.
Here’s how Tampa Bay will line up tonight:
Ondrej Palat- Steven Stamkos - JT Miller
Tyler Johnson - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Mattieu Joseph
Yanni Gourde - Cedric Paquette - Adam Erne
Victor Hedman - Mikhail Sergachev
Ryan Mcdonagh - Erik Cernak
Braydon Coburn - Jan Rutta
Scratches: Dan Girardi (lower-body), Anton Stralman (lower-body), Ryan Callahan (healthy), Danick Martel (healthy), Cameron Gaunce (healthy)