LIGHTNING (31-22-4) at PENGUINS (29-19-8)
TV: 12:30 p.m. ET; SN, TVA Sports, SUN, ROOT, NHL.TV
Season series: The Tampa Bay Lightning have defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins twice at Amalie Arena. Forward Vladislav Namestnikov completed his first NHL hat trick by scoring 2:11 into overtime for a 5-4 win Jan. 15. Forward Ondrej Palat scored two goals and forward Tyler Johnson had a goal and two assists in a 6-3 win Feb. 5. Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist had a goal in each game.
Lightning team scope: Namestnikov, who missed the past two games because of an upper-body injury, practiced Friday and is expected to return this weekend, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Tampa Bay also plays Sunday at the Carolina Hurricanes. The Lightning worked on battle drills in practice after giving up four goals in the third period of an eventual 6-5 shootout win Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets. "Somehow we found a way," defenseman Anton Stralman told the Lightning website. "But there's got to be more urgency in our efforts." Goalie Ben Bishop is the likely starter Saturday; coach Jon Cooper wouldn't commit to giving Andrei Vasilevskiy a start over the weekend. Forward Nikita Kucherov has three goals in his past four games. Defenseman Victor Hedman has two goals and four assists in his past five games.
Penguins team scope: Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury will start. He's allowed nine goals on 39 shots in two games against Tampa Bay and was pulled midway through the second period of the Feb. 5 loss. Center Evgeni Malkin, who hasn't played since Feb. 2 because of a lower-body injury, was ruled out for the weekend by coach Mike Sullivan. Pittsburgh visits the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. Sullivan said Malkin skated again Friday and is making progress. The Penguins come off a 6-3 win Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings in which forward Phil Kessel scored twice after replacing Hornqvist on a line with Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz. "Regardless of who Sid plays with he is going to make everyone around him better," Sullivan told the Penguins website. "That is the nature of Sid's game.