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GAMEDAY THREAD 55/82: Vegas Golden Knights at Tampa Bay Lightning

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Come chat with us as the Knights take on the Lightning.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden Knights will look to snap a four-game losing streak as they take on the Lightning tonight in Tampa Bay.

It will be a tall task for Vegas since the Lightning are the top team in the NHL (39-11-2) and have suffered a loss on home ice just five times this season.

However, the Lightning could be without one of their top players as Brayden Point is a game-time decision for tonight’s contest. Point is second on the team in scoring with 30 goals and 65 points, and he centers the top line. However, if he’s unable to play, Vegas will still have its hands full. That’s because Point’s absence from the lineup would put Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov on the same line, which makes for a dangerous combination.

It seems as though the Knights will stick with the line combinations they’ve used in recent games, with Valentin Zykov skating on the top line with Jonathan Marchessault and William Karlsson and Reilly Smith and Brandon Pirri skating on the third line with Cody Eakin.

Tampa Bay has a high-octane offense and a goaltender capable of shutting down even the most prolific scorers in the league. Fortunately for Vegas, Andrei Vasilevskiy hasn’t been lights-out in recent games. But since these teams have a habit of running up the score, this matchup could very well come down to Tampa’s league-best power play (29.4 percent) versus Vegas’ second-ranked penalty kill (84.2).

Other things to watch for include whether Paul Stastny will be able to extend his seven-game point streak and whether Shea Theodore’s magic against the Lightning will continue, as the 23-year-old has put up six points in three games against Tampa Bay over the last two seasons.

Here are the projected lineups for both clubs:

Golden Knights

Marchessault — Karlsson — Zykov
Pacioretty — Stastny — Tuch
Pirri — Eakin — Smith
Nosek — Bellemare — Reaves

McNabb — Schmidt
Theodore — Engelland
Merrill — Miller

Fleury
Lagace

Lightning

(forward lines if Point plays)
Johnson (#9) — Point (#21) — Kucherov (#86)
Palat (#18) — Stamkos (#91) — Gourde (#37)
Killorn (#17) — Cirelli (#71) — Miller (#10)
Erne (#73) — Paquette (#13) — Joseph (#7)

(forward lines if Point does not play)
Palat (#18) — Stamkos (#91) — Kucherov (#86)
Gourde (#37) — Johnson (#9) — Joseph (#7)
Killorn (#17) — Cirelli (#71) — Miller (#10)
Erne (#73) — Paquette (#13) — Callahan (#24)

Hedman (#77) — Stralman (#6)
McDonagh (#27) — Cernak (#81)
Coburn (#55) — Sergachev (#98)

Vasilevskiy (#88)
Domingue (#70)

ICYMI, here is the preview for tonight’s game. Also, check out the preview from Raw Charge, the SB Nation site for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Let’s discuss!