NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2015-16 campaign tonight when the St. Louis Blues host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are a formidable opponent under the best of circumstances, but the Blues’ task tonight will be made even more difficult because of the bad luck they’ve endured on the injury front.
St. Louis is expected to miss forwards Jaden Schwartz, Paul Stastny, and Patrik Berglund as well as defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. On top of all that, goaltender Brian Elliott‘s availability is up in the air after he missed Monday’s practice due to an illness, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
That’s particularly unfortunate given that Elliott has a career 1.97 GAA and .922 save percentage in eight games against the Lightning. Jake Allen, who will get the nod instead, has never played against Tampa Bay.
Of course, none of this is to suggest that St. Louis should be written off tonight. The Blues still have Vladimir Tarasenko on board to lead the charge while Jori Lehtera and Alexander Steen have started the season on a high note. That trio is one of the most effective top lines in the league right now.
Tampa Bay will be led by Steven Stamkos, who already has five goals in nine games, but the bigger question on the Lightning’s end revolves around the Triplets. Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Nikita Kucherov were a big part of the Lightning’s success last season, but their production thus far has been modest. The Lightning a 5-2-2 record despite that, but they need more out of those three forwards in the long run.
Perhaps they will prove to be the difference tonight. Then again, the Blues could end up thriving in the face of adversity.