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Preview: Lightning at Devils

Forward Nikita Kucherov out for Tampa Bay, Cory Schneider in goal for New Jersey

by Mike G. Morreale @mikemorrealeNHL / Staff Writer

LIGHTNING (5-2-0) at DEVILS (3-2-2)

7 p.m. ET; MSG+, SUN, NHL.TV

Lightning team scope

Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov will not play and remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Kucherov, Tampa Bay's leading scorer last season with 66 points, was injured after falling heavily into the boards after losing an edge with six minutes left in the first period of a 3-1 loss at the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. "I know [Kucherov] is feeling much better [Saturday] and he's improving but definitely out," coach Jon Cooper said. "Every time one of your guns are out, it's not a good situation, but let's just hope it's only a couple games or just one game." Kucherov will be replaced by forward Cory Conacher, who had two goals and five points in four games for Syracuse of the American Hockey League. Conacher, signed as a free agent by the Lightning on July 13, is in his second stint with Tampa Bay. This will be his first NHL game since Dec. 4, 2014, when he was a member of the New York Islanders. "I've had experience with [Conacher] in the minors and coaching him and he's come a long way and the one thing that kid does is he competes really hard, he skates and he can shoot the puck," Cooper said. "With a guy like Kucherov out of the lineup you need someone to fill those shoes and we're hoping Cory can do it." Tampa Bay, which is playing the fourth game of a six-game road trip, has won five in a row against the Devils, including a three-game sweep last season.

Devils team scope

Goaltender Cory Schneider will make his seventh start of the season for the New Jersey Devils after backup Keith Kinkaid made 26 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday. The Devils did not hold a morning skate, but forwards Reid Boucher and Jacob Josefson, healthy scratches on Friday, did work out with the assistant coaches, meaning coach John Hynes will likely stick the same forward lineup against the Lightning. Hynes shifted center Travis Zajac between Taylor Hall and Kyle Palmieri against Chicago's top line of center Jonathan Toews with Patrick Kane and Richard Panik. There's a good possibility he'll stick with that combination against Tampa Bay's top line of Steven Stamkos centering for Ondrej Palat and Jonathan Drouin. Stamkos has 16 goals and 27 points in 26 games against the Devils.

Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Steven Stamkos -- Jonathan Drouin

Alex Killorn -- Tyler Johnson -- Vladislav Namestnikov

Cory Conacher -- Valtteri Filppula -- Brayden Point

Cedric Paquette -- Brian Boyle -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison -- Andrej Sustr

Nikita Nesterov -- Braydon Coburn

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Ben Bishop

Scratched: Matt Taormina

Injured: Ryan Callahan (hip), Nikita Kucherov (upper body)

Devils projected lineup

Taylor Hall -- Travis Zajac -- Kyle Palmieri

Michael Cammalleri -- Adam Henrique -- Devante Smith-Pelly

Beau Bennett -- Pavel Zacha -- PA Parenteau

Sergey Kalinin -- Vernon Fiddler -- Nick Lappin

Andy Greene -- Damon Severson

Yohann Auvitu -- Ben Lovejoy

John Moore -- Kyle Quincey

Cory Schneider

Keith Kinkaid

Scratched: Jacob Josefson, Reid Boucher

Injured : Jon Merrill (finger), Luke Gazdic (foot)

Status report

Vasilevskiy is expected to make his third start of the season, with Bishop playing at the New York Rangers on Sunday. Conacher will likely play left wing with center Filppula and right wing Point. Callahan (hip) could make his season debut against the Rangers, his former team, on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. "The ideal situation would be to open up at the Garden, but we're still not there yet," Cooper said. … Lappin, recalled from Albany of the AHL on Thursday, should play his second straight NHL game. Hynes was noncommittal was asked if the fourth line of Kalinin, Fiddler and Lappin would remain intact against the Lightning. Hynes will confirm any lineup changes with the media prior to the opening faceoff. Lappin took one shot in 7:10 of ice time against the Blackhawks in his NHL debut.

Who's hot

Killorn has scored a goal in six of Tampa Bay's seven games this season, including the past three. … Hall has five goals and seven points in the past five games.

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