The Tampa Bay Lightning have lost four games in a row: twice to the Penguins and once each to the Panthers and Sabres. It’s the first time this season that they’ve lost more than two consecutive games. Their last game against the Sabres, things deteriorated so badly that Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov, and Brayden Point were all benched for the third period. That feels like a first for this squad.
Here’s Jon Cooper’s full response on Kucherov, Point and Stamkos not playing in the third period. pic.twitter.com/F42uCOArxG— Chris Krenn (@Chris_Krenn) March 4, 2023
So, needless to say, the Lightning enter today’s game motivated to prove that they’re better than they’ve been recently. With Brian Elliott starting last night, Andrei Vasilevskiy will get the start today. He’s struggled somewhat lately, losing three of his last five games. In all three of those losses, he’s allowed three or more goals. In 23 of his 46 games played this season, he’s allowed three or more goals.
After two losses in a row, the Hurricanes got back on track against the Coyotes. Three power play goals certainly helped the team record a win. It was just the second time this season and the first time since December that the Hurricanes struck three times on the advantage. While the Lightning’s penalty kill overall has been strong recently, they did allow two against in their last game (including one to old friend Jeff Skinner). The Hurricanes are in a great position to take advantage of a struggling Lightning team, particularly one playing the second half of a back to back.
- This is just the second meeting between the Hurricanes and Lightning. Their only previous match this year was on November 11, where the Hurricanes won 4-3 in the shootout. The teams complete the season series on March 28.
- The Tampa Bay Lightning only made two moves at the trade deadline: acquiring forward Mikey Eyssimont in exchange for Vladislav Namestnikov, and acquiring forward Tanner Jeannot for Cal Foote and five draft picks. Eyssimont made his debut yesterday against the Sabres but registered no points. Jeannot has two assists in three games.
- The Hurricanes have not allowed a power play goal in the past six games.
- The Lightning lead the league in first period goals scored, with 68 so far this season.
- When leading after one period, the Lightning are third in the league with 22 wins (22-1-2). The Hurricanes edge them out for second place with 25 wins (25-2-4).
Neither team skated this morning, and since the Canes didn’t practice yesterday, all we have to go on is how they looked on Friday night in their romp over Arizona. The Lightning may well change things up, especially after the benching of the Point line yesterday, so these are very subject to change:
Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Seth Jarvis
Teuvo Teravainen - Jesperi Kotkaniemi - Martin Necas
Jordan Martinook - Jordan Staal - Jesper Fast
Stefan Noesen - Paul Stastny - Derek Stepan
Jaccob Slavin - Brent Burns
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Shayne Gostisbehere - Jalen Chatfield
Injuries and Scratches: Jesse Puljujarvi (immigration delay), Calvin de Haan (healthy), Dylan Coghlan (healthy), Max Pacioretty (LTIR Achilles), Ondrej Kase (LTIR concussion)
Brandon Hagel - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Steven Stamkos - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Tanner Jeannot - Nick Paul - Corey Perry
Mikey Eyssimont - Ross Colton - Pat Maroon
Victor Hedman - Zach Bogosian
Mikhail Sergachev - Darren Raddysh
Ian Cole - Nick Perbix
Injuries and Scratches: Haydn Fleury (healthy), Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (healthy), Erik Cernak (lower body)
Referees: Frederick L’Ecuyer #17, Jake Brenk #26
Linesmen: Tommy Hughes #65, Ryan Galloway #82