The Tampa Bay Lightning, coming off a 5-2 win against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday, returned home to hold their traditional morning skate on Thursday at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in preparation for tonight’s big divisional game against the Winnipeg Jets.
Both teams are tied neck and neck with 21 points, so tonight’s game will be crucial in terms of positioning in the Southeast Division standings, as both the Bolts and Jets look to catch up to the Carolina Hurricanes at the top of the division.
Anders Lindback will get the start in goal for the Lightning.
Lindback made 25 saves in Tuesday’s win over the Devils to improve to 8-5-1 on the year to go along with a .892 save percentage and a 3.18 goals-against average.
Ryan Malone said he will be in tonight, and thus, Boucher said if that does indeed end up being the case, then Adam Hall will be scratched.
Therefore, expect Ondrej Palat and Pierre-Cedric Labrie to remain in the lineup.
On the injury front, Mathieu Garon is expected to skate Friday at practice, which is planned for 11:30 a.m. in Brandon, but will continue to be evaluated.
NOTES AND NUMBERS
Steven Stamkos looks to continue his point streak Thursday night against the Jets.
-The Lightning have three players in the top-25 in the NHL in points (Stamkos, St. Louis and Purcell), including two in the top three (St. Louis & Stamkos)
- Ondrej Palat made his NHL debut with the Bolts on Monday night against the Penguins and has recorded points in each of his first two career NHL games (two assists)
- Tampa Bay holds an impressive record of 26-8-1-3 against the Winnipeg/Atlanta franchise on home ice
- The Lightning are averaging 3.52 goals per game this season which ranks first in the NHL and also rank first overall with 81 goals
- Steven Stamkos has recorded 38 points (21 goals, 17 assists) in 25 career games against Winnipeg/Atlanta, his most against any NHL opponent, and is enjoying a four-game goal-scoring streak against the Jets dating back to last season
THEY SAID IT
Ryan Malone, on how he is feeling:
“I feel good. No restrictions. I feel fully healed and ready, but I didn’t want to come back too soon for a lot of reasons.”
Guy Boucher, on how he will use Malone given the depth at forward with the young guys here:
“I’ll have to give him some minutes he can manage. He hasn’t played in a long time so I have to be smart. It’s not about giving him tons of minutes and hoping he can do the job. He’s a big part of this team and he’s been missing, so he’ll be welcomed back.”