Hellllooooooooo everybodddddyyyyy, after what feels like a second bye week, the Penguins (33-14-5) are back in action tonight when they take on Nikita Kucherov and the red hot Tampa Bay Lightning (33-15-5). Puck is set to drop from Amalie Arena just after 7PM.
The Penguins last played Sunday and beat the Washington Capitals in thrilling fashion by a score of 4-3. Matt Murray was sharp making 29 saves (miss you MAF) and the Pens received goals from Sam Lafferty, Patric Hornqvist, Dominik Simon, and none other than Brandon Tanev, who netted the game-winning goal with 2:33 left to go in the third. I don't remember much else because it was Super Bowl Sunday and I was consuming a lot of Pink Whitney but the Pens won and TJ Oshie was mad. What else could you ask for, honestly?
The Lightning are good again. Surely they will come up short again when it matters, but for now they're playing some incredible hockey. The Bolts have won four in a row and have a 15-2-1 record since Christmas. They are coming off a 4-2 win against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night. Nikita Kucherov had two assists in the game and leads the Lightning in points this season with 63 (24G, 39A).
The Penguins did not hold a morning skate so I have no idea who the hell is in net. Honestly, Matt Murray has won his last five games and has posted a save percentage no less than .903 during that stretch so he seems to be the likely candidate. For the Lightning, expect Andrei Vasilevskiy. He's been sharp, posting a 14-0-2 record dating back to December 17th.
TJ Oshie sucks. Video - Sportsnet
This will be the second meeting between these two clubs this season. The Lightning won 3-2 back on October 23rd. These two teams will conclude the season series next week in Pittsburgh.
Brandon Tanev is absolutely incredible. Per the Penguins 4 of his 6 career game-winning goals have been scored this year.
The Penguins are 19-5-1 over their last 25 games but have lost their last 4 contests to the Lightning so no idea what the hell will happen tonight.
LOL also per the Penguins, all 5 of Sam Lafferty's goals have been scored on the road this season. Incredible.
John Marino is good at hockey. He just hit the 20 assist mark and became the 7th rookie defenseman to do so in franchise history.
Honestly, it's a bit refreshing not having to face the Flyers or Caps again. Those opponents get me heated online so I deserve a day of rest.
Bryan Rust had a 'maintenance day' the other day but he should be good to go tonight.
Is Brian Dumoulin still alive? I swear he's surpassed the 6-8 weeks that he was expected to be out.
Never forget when the Rangers gave now Lightning defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk a 4 year/ $26.6M deal and he got bought out. Good times.
Tampa's first line is Stamkos, Point, and Kucherov. Goooood Lord.