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Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning preview: Two struggling teams look to right the ship

Pittsburgh Penguins at Tampa Bay Lightning: GAME 55

Time: 7:000 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: NHLN, SUN, ATTSN-PT

Opponent SBNation Site: Pensburgh

Preview:

It’s only been five games since these two teams last met, but so many things have changed in that span. The Penguins might have stomped all over the Lightning in that one, but they’re on a three-game losing streak and have lost four of six games since their bye week ended.

The Bolts, meanwhile, have also hit a bit of a skid since returning from their break. They’ve lost three of five games, although their last four games have all been one-goal affairs. The team is struggling to find the back of the net. Tampa has been averaging over four goals a game all season, but they’ve only scored five times in their last four games. In two of those, they couldn’t score in regulation: a 1-0 shootout win and being shutout against St. Louis.

The rotation of the blueline continues. Since returning from the bye week, we saw Jon Cooper employ the following rotation of healthy scratches: Braydon Coburn, Anton Stralman, Mikhail Sergachev, Dan Girardi, and Erik Cernak. Jon Cooper looks to be shaking things up, though, because Stralman was the odd-man out at morning skate.

Pittsburgh has been hit a bit hard with the injury bug. Matt Murray missed their last game, forcing Casey DeSmith back into the starting job. Evgeni Malkin fought Steven Stamkos and hasn’t played a game since. Both Murray and Malkin were at practice yesterday, but won’t play tonight:

The Lightning’s special teams might be near the top of the league, but the Penguins are solid in that regard as well. That’s pretty impressive considering their blueline is fairly thin. While the Penguins are extremely injured, the Bolts are very healthy (knock on wood). And with Murray out, they have a huge opportunity tonight to get out of this slump.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forwards

Ondrej PalatSteven StamkosNikita Kucherov

Yanni GourdeBrayden Point – Tyler Johnson

Alex KillornAnthony CirelliJ.T. Miller

Adam ErneCedric Paquette – Mathieu Joseph

Scratched: Ryan Callahan, Danick Martel

Defense

Victor HedmanDan Girardi

Ryan McDonaghErik Cernak

Braydon CoburnMikhail Sergachev

Scratched: Anton Stralman

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Louis Domingue

Pittsburgh Penguins

Forwards

Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Nick Bjugstad

Bryan RustMatt CullenPhil Kessel

Dominik SimonJared McCannPatric Hornqvist

Tanner PearsonTeddy Blueger – Garrett Wilson

Injured: Evgeni Malkin, Zach Aston-Reese

Defense

Marcus PetterssonKris Letang

Brian Dumolin – Jack Johnson

Olli MaattaJuuso Riikola

Scratched: Chad Ruhwedel

Injured: Justin Schultz

Goalies

Casey DeSmith

Tristan Jarry

Injured: Matt Murray



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