Nicked-up Lightning vs. Penguins tonight
The Lightning and Penguins meet again for the second time in nine days.
The Penguins (5-2-1) have not lost since losing a 5-4 shootout at Amalie Arena.
The Lightning (6-1-1) is playing better defensively, according to coach Jon Cooper, since allowing 43 shots that night.
But, he added, the Penguins three-game winning streak since leaving Tampa is an indication that the defending Stanley Cup champions are playing well, too.
RW Nikita Kucherov participated in the optional morning skate after missing Friday’s practice for body maintenance. D Victor Hedman skated but did so in sweats, which might be an indication he was testing something to see if he can play tonight. C Cedric Paquette, who did not play Thursday at Columbus, did not practice Friday or skate this morning,
When asked if he expects changes tonight to the lineup, Cooper said, “Hard to say. I can say that for sure. Goaltender is the same, after that we’ll have to make game-time decisions, because some guys are nicked up.”
The goaltender, of course, is Andrei Vasilevskiy, who stopped all 43 shots and pitched a shutout Thursday against the Blue Jackets. He leads the NHL in wins with six.
Like they did when they played in Tampa last week, the Penguins are on the second half of a back-to-back. The first time they had to travel from Washington D.C. This time they made the short hop from Sunrise after Friday night’s 4-3 win against the Panthers.
A win tonight by the Lightning and it matches the best start in franchise history – 7-1-1, which was set by the 2003-2004 squad.