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Lightning vs. Stars: Projected lines, injuries and storylines

The Bolts return to AMALIE Arena to face the Stars

by Bryan Burns / TampaBayLightning.com

The Lightning play their first game at home in nearly two weeks when they host the Dallas Stars. Tampa Bay enters off of an impressive road trip that saw them go undefeated against the three California teams. The Stars are wrapping up a three-game trip of their own. They'll look to avoid losing their third straight game after dropping contests against Carolina and Florida earlier on the trip. 

Lines from Tursday's morning skate. Subject to change.

Forwards

Vladislav Namestnikov - Steven Stamkos - Nikita Kucherov

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Yanni Gourde

Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Gabriel Dumont 

Chris Kunitz - J.T. Brown - Ryan Callahan

Defense

Victor Hedman - Jake Dotchin

Mikhail Sergachev - Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn - Dan Girardi

Slater Koekkoek - Andrej Sustr

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy expected to start 

THURSDAY'S MATCHUP
The Lightning and the Stars are playing their first of two meetings this season and the only meeting at AMALIE Arena...Tampa Bay split a pair of games against Dallas last season with each team winning on home ice...The Lightning doubled up the Stars on April 2 at AMALIE Arena, earning a 6-3 victory behind a pair of goals from Adam Erne and a 23-of-26 save performance from netminder Peter Budaj...Dallas, paced by Antoine Roussel's hat trick, scored a 4-3 overtime victory at home on Feb. 18 over the Bolts, who were led by Victor Hedman's two goals...Stars G Ben Bishop returns to AMALIE Arena for the first time as an opposing player; Bishop spent parts of five seasons in Tampa Bay and still owns Lightning goalie franchise records for wins (131), saves (5,728), save percentage (.921),
goals-against average (2.28) and shutouts (17)...The Lightning have split their last four home games against Dallas and are 5-12-1 with two ties all-time at home vs. the Stars.

TONIGHT'S STORYLINES
Tampa Bay paces the NHL for wins (14), points (30), points percentage (.833) and goal differential (+25)...The Lightning are the first team in the League to reach 30 points, a mark they hit in their 27th game in 2016-17...The Bolts are off to their best start in franchise history with 30 points and a 14-2-2 record through 18 games, four points better than the 26 put up by the 2003-04 (11-3-3-1), 2013-14 (13-5-0) and 2014-15 (12-4-2) teams...The Lightning lead the NHL for goals per game (3.89) and are allowing the third-least goals per game at 2.50 (no other League team ranks in the top 10 for both categories)...The Bolts are on a four-game win streak, tied for their longest win streak of the season...Tampa Bay has gone six-straight games without allowing a power-play goal and has killed off 15 straight opponent power plays.

INJURIES
2017-18 Regular Season Man Games Lost: 13
Current injuries:
Cedric Paquette - Upper body (DAY-TO-DAY) 11 Games

TRANSACTIONS
Nov. 14 -- Acquired G Louis Domingue from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for G Michael Leighton and F Tye McGinn

ANDREI THE GIANT
Tampa Bay goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy made 28 saves on 29 shots Nov. 12 at ANA to win his third-straight start and his NHL-best 13th overall on the season (no other League goalie has more than 10 wins)...Vasilevskiy ranks T-6th in the NHL for save percentage (.930) and 10th for goals-against average (2.32)...Vasilevskiy has given up one goal in each of his last two starts and is 12-0-1 over his last 13 starts...Since Oct. 14, Vasilevskiy has allowed two or fewer goals in nine of 11 starts and owns a .943 save percentage (T-3rd best in NHL) and a 1.80 GAA (6th best in NHL)...Dating back to Feb. 27, 2017, Vasilevskiy is 25-5-3 over his last 33 starts, pacing all NHL goalies for wins over that period (second: WSH's Braden Holtby - 21)...Vasilevskiy owns a career .935 save percentage and 2.05 GAA in the month of November, both career bests for any month.

STAMMER TIME
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos tallied an assist Nov. 12 at ANA to extend his point streak to four games (2-5--7)...Stamkos has recorded points in 16 of 18 games and has 10 multi-point performances in 2017-18...Stamkos leads the NHL for scoring.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov are just the third set of teammates in the past 21 years to each record 30 or more points before the team's 20th game of the season, joining Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza in 2005-06 and Philadelphia's Peter Forsberg and Simon Gagne, also in 2005-06...Stamkos' 31 points are the most he's put up through 18 games in his career (previous high: 30 points in first 18 games of 2010-11)...Stamkos owns a share of the longest point streak in the NHL this season (4-17--21 over 11 games from Oct. 6-26) along with teammate Nikita Kucherov...Stamkos has recorded at least one assist in 13 games and has eight multi-assist performances on the season...Stamkos paces the NHL for assists.

Stamkos tallied a power-play assist Nov. 12 at ANA and has recorded a power-play point in 12 of 18 games this season...Stamkos is tied with WSH's T.J. Oshie for the NHL lead for power-play goals and paces the League for power-play scoring.

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