The Lightning’s four-game road trip continues tonight in Pittsburgh as the Bolts try to right the ship after dropping four in a row. It doesn’t get any easier though, as Tampa Bay visits CONSOL Energy Center where they haven’t found much success recently outside of the 2011 playoffs. On top of that, it appears that the Penguins will get Evgeni Malkin back after suffering from some concussion symptoms. He practiced yesterday and today which has people speculating that he will make his return tonight.
Mathieu Garon will get the start in goal for the Lightning. It marks his sixth consecutive appearance, which also includes one relief appearance. There will be some changes in front of Garon though, as Brendan Mikkelson and Marc-Andre Bergeron will be out on defense as Guy Boucher elects to go with six defensemen. Pierre-Cedric Labrie will be out up front. The Lightning recalled forward Ondrej Palat yesterday evening. He will make his debut tonight wearing number 74. Boucher’s scouting report said that he is very responsible defensively and might be the most complete player in Syracuse.
After a good start in the injury front, the Lightning have certainly fallen victim as of late. Benoit Pouliot is the Bolts’ latest guy to land on the injury report as he was sent into the boards Saturday in Boston. He is being reported as having an upper body injury and Boucher said he will not play today or tomorrow. He may be out longer than that. Sami Salo (lower body) will return to the line-up tonight after being out for two games. Ryan Malone (lower body) is still on the mend and while he joined the team here in his home town, he will not play tonight or Tuesday.
After tonight’s game the Bolts will fly to Newark, New Jersey for their meeting tomorrow with the Devils to close out this trip.
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: AM 970 WFLA
Thing to Keep an Eye On: Defensive mindset. Boucher was critical of his team after Saturday’s game in Boston for playing with too much of an offensive mindset. He surely has addressed it with the players and we should see a stronger focus on defense tonight and moving forward.
On the Rise: Alex Killorn. The rookie center has fit right in since joining the Lightning with three goals and six points in 11 games. With the injury to Pouliot, Killorn will now be moved up to a top-six role playing with Vinny Lecavalier and Marty St. Louis.
Flying Penguins: Even though they have lost two of their previous three games, Pittsburgh has still been scoring a ton of goals. The have scored three goals or more in eight of their previous nine games, including seven on Saturday night in Montreal.