The Lightning's season-long, seven-game homestand continues tonight as the Bolts will be seeking their fourth straight victory when they face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Additionally, the Lightning will be attempting to keep-up their home ice mastery where they’re 7-3-1 over their past 11 home games dating back to last season.
Tonight’s match-up is the first of three meetings between the two clubs and despite holding a 20-16-2 home record against the Penguins, the Bolts will be trying to snap a six-game losing streak to their opponent.
Last season the Lightning lost all three contests to the Penguins, getting outscored 15-9. However, the Bolts outscored them in the second period and went 4-for-7 (57.1%) on the power-play.
The Lightning (3-1-0, 6 pts) enter tonight’s game having won their third straight game with a solid 7-2 win in their home opener on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers.
Seven different players recorded multi-point games, led by Steven Stamkos’ four point night, which included his sixth career hat trick. The hat trick was unique as Stamkos recorded a shorthanded, power-play and even strength goal for the first time in his career and the very first in Lightning franchise history. The shorthanded goal was the first since Ryan Malone netted one on Mar. 26, 2012 at Philadelphia.
Goalie Ben Bishop (3-0-0, 1.93 GAA) won his third straight contest and he also earned his first assist of the season on Ondrej Palat’s goal. Martin St. Louis added a goal and an assist while Teddy Purcell notched a career high-tying three assistants. Matthew Carle, Alex Killorn and Sami Salo chipped in with two assists apiece and Valtteri Filppula tied his career high with two goals.
Bishop, who has not allowed more than two goals in those three games apparently suffered a lower-body injury in Thursday’s game and will not play tonight. Bishop did skate on his own in this morning pre-game skate, but is still considered day-to-day. Cedrick Desjardins was recalled from Syracuse and will back up Andres Lindback (0-1-0, 3.10 GAA).
“He got banged up at some point during the game, but it wasn’t something that was major cause for concern because he said he was fine during the game and with games coming every second day, we just felt there was no need to put him on the ice.’’ Lightning coach Jon Cooper said.
With wins in their first three-games all at home, the Penguins (3-1-0, 6 pts) kicked off their road schedule with a 6-3 loss on Friday to the Panthers. Evgeni Malkin, Craig Adams and Pascal Dupuis scored but goalie Jeff Zatkoff in his NHL debut allowed six goals on 30 shots.
It's expected that goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (3-0-0, 1.00 GAA), who recorded a 1.00 goals-against average and one shutout in the first three games will start for Pittsburgh tonight. Fleury has won four consecutive starts against the Lightning and is 13-6-0 with a 2.11 GAA in 19 games in the series since 2007-08.
Lightning Projected Combinations
Ryan Malone, Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis
Alex Killorn, Valtteri Filppula, Richard Panik
Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson, Teddy Purcell
Pierre-Cedric Labrie, Nate Thompson, B.J. Crombeen
Matt Carle, Radko Gudas
Sami Salo, Victor Hedman
Andrej Sustr, Eric Brewer
Power Play Units
Ryan Malone, Steven Stamkos, Teddy Purcell, Martin St. Louis, Sami Salo
Alex Killorn, Valtteri Filppula, Tyler Johnson, Matt Carle, Victor Hedman
Anders Lindback, Cedrick Desjardins
Pittsburgh Projected Combinations
Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis
Jussi Jokinen, Evgeni Malkin, Beau Bennett
Dustin Jeffrey, Brandon Sutter, Chuck Kobasew
Tanner Glass, Joe Vitale, Craig Adams
Brooks Orpik, Paul Martin
Rob Scuderi, Matt Niskanen
Olli Maatta, Robert Bortuzzo
Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, Jussi Jokinen, Paul Martin, Evgeni Malkin
Dustin Jeffrey, Brandon Sutter, Beau Bennett, Matt Niskanen, Olli Maatta
Marc-Andre Fleury, Jeff Zatkoff
Lightning Nutz and Boltz
Martin St. Louis and Teddy Purcell both enter tonight's contest on three-game point streaks.
Steven Stamkos recorded three goals and three assists against the Penguins last season.
The Lightning's power-play has notched a goal in three straight games, going 4-for-9 (44.4%) during that stretch.
The Week Ahead
Tue., Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m. vs. Los Angeles Kings
Thur., Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m. vs. Minnesota Wild
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