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Preview: Lightning at Penguins

Mark Streit to be paired with Ron Hainsey in first game with Pittsburgh; Peter Budaj to make Tampa Bay debut

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

LIGHTNING (29-25-8) at PENGUINS (38-16-8)

7 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, SN, ROOT, SUN, NHL.TV

 

Lightning team scope

Goaltender Peter Budaj will make his Tampa Bay Lightning debut after being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, coach Jon Cooper said. Budaj was 27-20-3 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .917 save percentage in 53 games with the Kings this season. "He's a bit on the smaller side (6-foot-1, 196 pounds), but he reads the game real well," defenseman Anton Stralman said. "He's real hard to score on and he's very mobile. … Hopefully he can help us out." The Lightning have won four of their past five games (4-1-0). They also have points in six straight road games (3-0-3). Tampa Bay can get within two points of a Stanley Cup Playoff spot with a win Friday. The Lightning have 66 points, four fewer than the New York Islanders for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. The Islanders play at the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. The Toronto Maple Leafs also have 70 points; they play at the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. Forward Nikita Kucherov has played a large role in the Lightning's recent surge with 12 points (six goals, six assists) during a four-game point streak. 

 

Penguins team scope

Defenseman Mark Streit will make his Pittsburgh Penguins debut. The Penguins acquired Streit, expected to be paired with Ron Hainsey, from the Lightning on Wednesday after he had been traded from the Philadelphia Flyers earlier in the day "It's been a smooth transition so far," Streit said. "The guys made it easy for me this morning and it's a good turnaround." Forward Conor Sheary will be a game-time decision, coach Mike Sullivan said. Sheary has missed the past 13 games with an upper-body injury. "I think conditioning is probably the hardest thing," Sheary said. "I think when you're out for a while you kind of lose that and you're not really in game shape." He skated at right wing Friday morning on a line with center Sidney Crosby. The Penguins will try to end a two-game losing streak (0-2-0). They're third in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind the second-place Columbus Blue Jackets. 

 

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Tyler Johnson -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Brayden Point -- Jonathan Drouin

Adam Erne -- Cedric Paquette -- Vladislav Namestnikov

Greg McKegg -- Gabriel Dumont -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Jason Garrison -- Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn -- Andrej Sustr

Peter Budaj

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Luke Witkowski

Injured: Ryan Callahan (right hip), Steven Stamkos (right knee)

 

Penguins projected lineup

Chris Kunitz -- Sidney Crosby -- Conor Sheary

Carl Hagelin -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Jake Guentzel -- Nick Bonino -- Phil Kessel

Scott Wilson -- Matt Cullen -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Brian Dumoulin -- Justin Schultz

Mark Streit -- Ron Hainsey

Ian Cole -- Chad Ruhwedel

Matt Murray

Marc-Andre Fleury

Scratched: Carter Rowney, Derrick Pouliot

Injured: Bryan Rust (upper body), Olli Maatta (hand), Trevor Daley (knee), Kris Letang (upper body)

 

Status report

Stamkos participated in an optional morning skate Friday. On Wednesday, he skated for the first time since tearing the lateral meniscus in his right knee Nov. 15. … Letang did not participate in the morning skate and will miss his fourth consecutive game.

 

Who's hot

Hedman has 11 points (five goals, six assists) in his past seven games. … Malkin, who will play his 700th NHL game Friday, has 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in his past 16 games. Crosby has 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in his past 20 games.

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