But in the third and final regular-season meeting between the teams, the Penguins will be hoping to reverse their recent fortunes against the Lightning as Tampa has won both meetings this season and six of the last eight head-to-head contests. The Finn enters Thursday's matchup with a 15-11-2 overall record to go along with a 2.91 GAA and.908 save percentage in 31 games (28 starts) this season.
Tampa Bay beats Pittsburgh, loses Kucherov to injuryTampa Bay kept its winning streak alive on Tuesday night, taking down the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-1 in overtime for their eighth straight win. The Oilers are 0-7 in the last 7 meetings in Tampa Bay and 1-4 in the last 5 meetings. It's a good challenge. They're a team that's been playing really well.
Pittsburgh not only wants some payback, but it also wants to show it can play its preferred level and style against a fellow top club. While not quite as hot as the Lightning at the moment, the Penguins are still a very impressive 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.
Pittsburgh will be without precocious rookie defenseman John Marino, who had surgery Monday to fix broken bones after he took a puck to the left side of his face in the Thursday game. Both of these teams still have a legitimate shot at winning their respective divisions and landing the #1 spot in the Eastern Conference. Edmonton leads the league with 50 power-play goals, led by James Neal with 12. For a little while, early in the season, it looked as though the Tampa Bay Lightning might prove to be one of those teams. Seeding is incredibly important, which is why this game is so huge. "We're playing for points still, so we have to keep an even keel (on) this road trip". Captain Steven Stamkos is now day-to-day with a lower-body injury, while defenseman Ryan McDonagh is out a couple of weeks after being hurt blocking a shot in Thursday's win over Pittsburgh. The Tampa Bay Lightning are averaging 3.6 goals per game and are scoring on 24 percent of their power play opportunities.
Bolts star forward Nikita Kucherov was taken to the dressing room seconds before the end of the second period after crashing into Penguins defenseman Jack Johnson.
After Tampa Bay backup goaltender Curtis McElhinney played Monday at Columbus, it seems likely that Andrei Vasilevskiy will face the Penguins.