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Nuts & Bolts: The homestand rolls on against Columbus

The Lightning welcome the Blue Jackets to Amalie Arena for a two-game set beginning Thursday

by Bryan Burns @BBurnsNHL /

The Lightning open the finale series of this homestand on Thursday night against the Blue Jackets. 

When: Thursday, April 22 - 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Amalie Arena - Tampa, FL
TV coverage: Bally Sports Sun (check local listings)
Radio coverage: 970 WFLA-AM, Lightning Power Play
Stream info: FOX Sports GONHL.TV

Projected Lineup (subject to change)
Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Alex Barre-Boulet
Tyler Johnson - Anthony Cirelli - Alex Killorn
Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon - Ross Colton - Mathieu Joseph

Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak
Ryan McDonagh - David Savard
Mikhail Sergachev - Luke Schenn

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Curtis McElhinney

Thursday's Matchup
The Lightning and the Blue Jackets are playing their seventh of eight meetings this season and the third of four at AMALIE Arena...Tampa Bay is 3-3-0 against Columbus in 2020-21 and has split each of its three previous two-game sets versus the Blue Jackets...The Lightning are 1-1-0 versus Columbus this season at AMALIE Arena...The Bolts defeated the Blue Jackets 6-4 in Columbus in the teams' last meeting April 8, the only time over the last 15 contests Tampa Bay has scored more than three goals (TBL scored 3+ goals in 18 of the first 31 games of 2020-21)...In that contest, Ryan McDonagh netted a pair of goals for his first two-goal game with Tampa Bay and fourth of his career, and Yanni Gourde tallied four assists, setting a career high for assists in a game and matching a career high for scoring in game...Ryan McDonagh has two multi-point games this season, both coming against Columbus, and has recorded 2-3--5 pts. to tie for the Lightning scoring lead this season versus Blue Jackets along with Victor Hedman (1 4--5 pts.) and Yanni Gourde (0-5--5 pts.)...Ross Colton has scored a goal in three-straight games vs. Columbus (3 goals in 4 GP overall this season) and is tied for the Lightning goal lead this season against the Blue Jackets along with Brayden Point (3 goals in 6 GP)...Tampa Bay is 24-13-0 with one tie in 38 all time regular season meetings with Columbus for its second-highest point percentage (.645) against any NHL franchise (highest: .683 vs. LAK).

Thursday's Storylines
The Lightning close out a season-long, six-game homestand with a two-game set against the Blue Jackets...Tampa Bay (62 pts.) trails Carolina (65) and Florida (65) by three points for first place in the Central Division...The Lightning are tied for first in the Central for wins (30) with CAR and FLA...The Bolts pace the Central for regulation wins (24), goals (152) and goals per game (3.30)...The Lightning are tied for first with FLA in the Central for ROW (29)...Tampa Bay's magic number to clinch a playoff berth for the fourth-consecutive season, seventh time in the last eight seasons and 13th time overall is eight, whereby any combination of points gained by the Lightning and points lost by Nashville will decrease that number.

2020-21 Reg. Season Man Games Lost: 119 
Nikita Kucherov (Hip Surgery Dec. 29; Out) 46 Games 
Jan Rutta (Lower-body injury March 30; Week-to-week) 11 Games 
Steven Stamkos (Lower-body injury Apr. 8; Out) 6 Games

The Road Ahead
Sunday, April 25 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
Tuesday, April 27 at Chicago Blackhawks
Thursday, April 29 vs. Dallas Stars

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