Hockey is back in the Bay Area and the Tampa Bay Lightning will hit the ice tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes at home. Though it’s only the preseason, we’re glad the team is back in action again.
The long awaited day has come and the Tampa Bay Lightning will hit the Amalie Arena ice tonight against the Carolina Hurricanes. Even though it’s just the preseason, it’s exciting to know that regular season action is right around the corner.
Typically, the preseason is a warm-up for the regular season for most players, but since 12 members from the Lightning participated in the World Cup of Hockey, many of the team’s prospects will have the chance to showcase their skills without having the pressure of fighting for a spot on the main roster. In addition, those who played in the World Cup already have some full game action under their belts, which will help once Oct. 13 rolls around.
As for tonight’s game, the Lightning will host the Hurricanes tonight at 7:30 p.m. before playing a stretch of three straight games from Thursday through Saturday, including an away game against the Canes in Raleigh, N.C. on Friday. Fans can listen to the games on station 970 WFLA or on the Lightning Power Play podcast through iHeart Radio.
Before the puck drops on a new season, the Tampa Bay Lightning will have played in six preseason games (you can find the full schedule here) and many of the regulars are eager to get started and see some action on the ice, including forward Tyler Johnson:
"“You can only do so much in practice. We’re really looking forward to the preseason and tonight’s game.”"
2016 first round pick and newcomer to the team, forward Brett Howden, will make his preseason debut tonight, along with defensemen Libor Hajek and Matt Spencer, and forwards Mathieu Joseph, Bokondji Imama, and Dennis Yan. Howden spoke about his debut, saying, “It’s very exciting. Gotta get the first few shifts out of the way. Once you’re out there, the nerves go away.”
"“I’m really excited to see a lot of the young guys [tonight]. I know for them what an exciting time it is.”"
There will also be a family connection or two on the ice tonight, as Tampa Bay Lightning forward Tye McGinn‘s brother, Brock, is in the lineup for the Hurricanes. In addition, forward Cedric Paquette finally met his distant cousin, 2016 fifth round pick, Christopher Paquette, during training camp. However, the newest Paquette will not be in the lineup tonight for the Bolts.
Forward Cory Conacher will appear in his first game with the Lightning after his return to the team and defenseman James Wisniewski will also make his debut with Tampa Bay while facing his former team. If you weren’t already aware, the 32-year-old Michigan native signed a professional tryout contract with the Lightning back in August.
Finally, after returning from the World Cup in Toronto, goaltenders Ben Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy returned to the ice before the morning skate this morning. It’s likely that both will get a start in one of the preseason games, but netminders Adam Wilcox and Kristers Gudlevskis may get a majority of the playing time.
It has been a long, drawn out off-season, but hockey has returned to Tampa Bay and the Lightning will finally be back out on the ice, even though these games do not count. Nonetheless, it’s an exciting time of the year and we’re glad to see the Boys in Blue and White back where they belong. And just as a friendly reminder, the 2016 NHL regular season is only 15 days away.
Lightning line combos (morning skate):
Defensemen (pairings subject to change)