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Lightning at Penguins preview

Tampa Bay eyes eighth straight victory; Zucker likely to debut for Pittsburgh

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

LIGHTNING (36-15-5) at PENGUINS (34-15-5) 



The Game

Jason Zucker is likely to debut for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Tampa Bay Lightning at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday.

The forward was acquired by the Penguins in a trade with the Minnesota Wild on Monday for forward Alex Galchenyuk, defenseman prospect Calen Addison and a first-round pick in the 2020 or 2021 NHL Draft. Zucker likely would play with center Sidney Crosby on the first line, coach Mike Sullivan said.

The Penguins, four points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division, are 9-3-0 in their past 12 games and 17-5-1 in their past 23.  

The Lightning will look to extend their seven-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the NHL, after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 in overtime Monday. Tampa Bay has gone 19-2-1 in its past 22 games to pull within three points of the Boston Bruins for the Atlantic Division lead.


Players to watch

Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, 16-0-2 with a 2.03 goals-against average, .931 save percentage and two shutouts in his past 18 starts, can extend the longest point streak by a goalie in Tampa Bay history. 

Crosby has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in nine games since returning from core muscle surgery.


They said it

"You're just trying to win hockey games. You're trying to put yourself in a position to make the (Stanley Cup) Playoffs." -- Lightning coach Jon Cooper 

"We're thrilled to have Jason. We really think he's going to make us a better team." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on forward Jason Zucker


Lightning projected lineup 

Ondrej Palat -- Brayden Point -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Anthony Cirelli -- Tyler Johnson

Pat Maroon -- Cedric Paquette -- Mathieu Joseph

Carter Verhaeghe -- Mitchell Stephens -- Yanni Gourde

Victor Hedman -- Erik Cernak

Mikhail Sergachev -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Braydon Coburn -- Luke Schenn

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Scratched: Cameron Gaunce

Injured: Steven Stamkos (lower body), Ryan McDonagh (lower body), Jan Rutta (lower body)


Penguins projected lineup

Jason Zucker -- Sidney Crosby -- Dominik Simon

Jared McCann -- Evgeni Malkin -- Bryan Rust

Zach Aston-Reese -- Teddy Blueger -- Brandon Tanev

Andrew Agozzino -- Sam Lafferty -- Patric Hornqvist

Jack Johnson -- Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson -- Justin Schultz

Juuso Riikola -- Chad Ruhwedel

Tristan Jarry

Matt Murray

Scratched: Anthony Angello

Injured: Nick Bjugstad (core muscle surgery), Brian Dumoulin (ankle surgery), Jake Guentzel (shoulder surgery), Dominik Kahun (concussion), John Marino (facial surgery)


Status report

Neither team held a morning skate Tuesday. … Stamkos is day-to-day. … Marino had surgery Monday and is expected to be out 3-6 weeks.


Stat pack

Kucherov has 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) during an 11-game point streak, the longest active streak in the NHL … Point has 11 points (two goals, nine assists) during a five-game point streak. … Pittsburgh is 13-2-0 at home against Tampa Bay dating to Nov. 12, 2010. … Jarry is 11-3-1 with a 2.37 GAA, .921 save percentage and one shutout in his past 15 starts.

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