The time has finally come, ladies and gentlemen! Tampa Bay Lightning hockey is finally back! Tonight, the Bolts look to get things started off right as they head into the Bridgestone Arena tonight to take on Shea Weber and the Nashville Predators.
Now that all the players who participated in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi are back, it is time to get down to business, and that is just what they aim to do.
While the Predators have not had the same success that the Lightning have this season win it comes to wins and losses, this is certainly no reason to underestimate the team. When you look at the stats, these two teams are pretty much neck and neck. Well, that is except for one little detail.
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As you can see, that one “little detail” is the Power Play of Nashville. While it may not seem like that great of a difference, with the Bolts’ nasty habit of falling prey to what I like to call unnecessary penalties, they are going to have to be especially careful with that tonight; especially against a team that is so good at capitalizing on those opportunities.
Smith leads the team in goals with 18. Add in 18 assists, and this gives him a total of 36 points so far this season; however, at the top of the points standings on the team, the leader is David Legwand. Legwand has 10 goals and 30 assists, giving him a total of 40 points so far. Last, but certainly not least, we have the captain. Weber has 15 goals and 23 assists for a total of 38 points.
On the other side of the ice, it is all about the captain, Martin St. Louis. So far this season, St. Louis has scored 25 goals and 31 assists for a team leading total of 56 points. He is also carrying a plus-15 rating.
Just behind Marty is center Valtteri Filppula, who has scored 20 goals of his own and 21 assists for a total of 41 points. Unfortunately for Bolts fans, Filppula will not be able to play in tonight’s encounter as he is still recovering from a non-displaced ankle fracture that he suffered right before the Olympic break.
According to Lightning beat writer Missy Zielinski, it will be Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop between the pipes to get us started tonight. His backup will be goaltender Kristers Gudlevskis who, as you have probably heard, had a pretty spectacular outing at the Olympics. Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback has been temporarily reassigned to the Syracuse Crunch for conditioning.
So far this season, Bishop has suited up for 44 games with the Bolts. In that time, he has gone 28-8-4 with a GAA of 1.98 and a Save Percentage of .933.
On the other side of the ice, it is assumed that Predators goaltender Carter Hutton will be in net tonight. Hutton has played 30 games with the Predators this season, and in that time he has gone 13-9-4 with a GAA of 2.87 and a Save Percentage of .904.
If anything, this is going to be an intense game. Each and every one of these players is anxious to get back out on the ice and get back down to business. Tonight, all we can hope for is that when the Bolts hit the ice, they do what they know how to do best; kick some ice.
Are you ready for some Lightning hockey tonight? Who do you think is going to be the first player to light the lamps tonight? Do you think the Bolts are ready to start this road trip off right and bring home the two points? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.