The Lightning will start their third different goalie in the last five games when they take on the Pens in Pittsburgh.
Peter Budaj, acquired in the Ben Bishop-to-L.A. swap, will make his Bolts debut at PPG Paints. The nod comes after Bishop beat Edmonton 4-1 in his final game with Tampa Bay back on Feb. 21, followed by three consecutive starts by Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Vasilevskiy’s latest, Wednesday’s 4-3 OT win over Carolina, pushed the Bolts to within four points of the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Tampa Bay is surging a bit, having won six of its last nine — and a win tonight, coupled with regulation losses from the Isles and Leafs, would cut the deficit to two.
For the Penguins, Matt Murray‘s in goal.
— In Carolina, where there’s been some major goalie drama, Cam Ward gets the start against the visiting Coyotes. Louis Domingue will go for Arizona ahead of Mike Smith, who has really struggled lately.
— Carter Hutton makes his first start since shutting out Detroit on Feb. 15 when the Blues travel to Winnipeg. Connor Hellebuyck is back in for the Jets after getting hooked in Tuesday’s loss to the Wild.
— Frederik Andersen wanted the start in his return to Anaheim but, after playing last night’s shootout loss to L.A., he’ll be sat in favor of Curtis McElhinney (he himself a former Duck). Jonathan Bernier will go for Anaheim (he himself a former Maple Leaf).