Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time
Location: Amalie Arena
Broadcast/Streaming: SunS, FS-F
Opponent SBNation Site: Litter Box Cats
So far this season, every new day comes with a breaking news alert about yet another injury in the NHL. The Lightning are no stranger to injuries this season. A couple of weeks ago, it was Ondrej Palat and Victor Hedman. Now, it’s Anton Stralman and Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Two nights ago, hockey fans watched in horror as replays of Florida forward Vincent Trocheck’s injury circled the internet. Let’s just say that legs are not supposed to bend that way. If, by some chance, you haven’t seen the injury and have a weak stomach, I would advise you to not go looking. Trocheck underwent surgery to repair “significant damage” to his ankle on Tuesday and will be out indefinitely.
As for the rest of the Panthers, they defeated the Senators in a wild game on Monday. Mike Hoffman potted a goal to extend his scoring streak to 16 games, and rookie Juho Lammikko lit up the score sheet with four assists. It wasn’t the quite the sound defensive effort that the Panthers were looking for, but they’ll take the two points as they return to Florida to face off against the Lightning.
Tampa Bay entered their tilt against the league-leading Nashville Predators on Monday looking to increase their own lead on the rest of the Eastern Conference. A rough 40 minutes largely derailed that plan, as the Bolts fell 3-2 and dropped to 2nd in the East. Erik Cernak, recalled from the Syracuse Crunch after Stralman’s injury, recorded his first NHL point. Louis Domingue, who has filled in admirably in Vasilevskiy’s absence, did all he could to keep the game close as Nashville shelled him relentlessly.
Trocheck’s absense leaves a hole in Florida’s top six (a hole so large that I couldn’t even fill it with a replacement in the lineups below). As the Panthers canceled practice on Tuesday, and no one has been called up at the moment, it remains to be seen how Bob Boughner will shuffle his lines. Colton Sceviour, who was a healthy scratch against Florida’s last game against the Ottawa Senators, would draw back into the lineup if the Panthers don’t recall anyone before the game. The Panthers could also move Nick Bjugstad back to center in Trocheck’s absence. As far as call-ups go, Denis Malgin and Henrik Borgstrom would be the likeliest candidates should Florida choose to move in that direction.
James Reimer started against the Senators, but he and Roberto Luongo have split starts this season. Luongo had lost the two previous games prior to Ottawa, so Boughner may turn to Reimer again against the Lightning. However, Luongo has better numbers this season and is no stranger to playing Tampa Bay. Meanwhile, it will once again be Domingue in net with Vasilevskiy out until (at least) mid-December. Tampa’s last game was the first time this season Jon Cooper decided to dress 11 forwards and 7 defensemen. Given the way the Lightning played, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him revert back to their regular lineup against Florida, especially if Cedric Paquette is healthy enough to play.
The Lightning look to regain their lead on the Eastern Conference, while the Panthers search for their first victory against Tampa this season. Yes, both teams are missing a few key players. But injuries aside, and both teams offensively capable of taking control of games, it should be an entertaining affair, one worthy of being called ‘The Battle of Florida’.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Injured: Ondrej Palat, Cedric Paquette
Ryan McDonagh – Erik Cernak
Injured: Anton Stralman
Injured: Andrei Vasilevskiy
Keith Yandle – Alex Petrovic
Scratched: Bogdan Kiselevich (D)
We have official Panthers lines.
#FlaPanthers have won 6 of 8…
at Tampa 7:30pm on @FOXSportsFL tonight
Without Vincent Trocheck, Cats morning skate…
— Steve Goldstein (@goldieonice) November 21, 2018