Buffalo at Tampa Bay
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, March 6, 2014
Where: Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
The Tampa Bay Lightning may have made the biggest addition and subtraction Wednesday at the trade deadline as Steven Stamkos was cleared to play while captain Martin St. Louis was traded to the New York Rangers. Stamkos, who has missed the last 45 games with a broken right tibia, is expected back in the lineup when the Lightning start a six-game homestand against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. St. Louis requested a trade and received it as he was dealt for Ryan Callahan and a pair of high draft picks.
The Lightning lose their all-time leading scorer in St. Louis, but Callahan adds grit to a team that is 3-7-0 in its last 10 games. “He’s a different type of player (than St.Louis),” Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said of Callahan. “But he provides a lot of the things that we feel are important on and off the ice, which will allow us to move on, continue to be a good team and compete for a spot in the Stanley Cup playoffs.” The Sabres are in rebuilding mode after making several moves in the last week, including the trades of goaltender Ryan Miller and forward Matt Moulson.TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, MSG, Bell TV (Buffalo), Sun Sports (Tampa Bay) ABOUT THE SABRES (18-35-8):
Buffalo, which saw its three-game winning streak come to an end Monday at Dallas, could have several new faces in the lineup against Tampa Bay. The Sabres acquired power forward Chris Stewart from St. Louis in the Miller deal on Friday while Cory Conacher, Torrey Mitchell and netminder Michal Neuvirth were obtained on Wednesday. Neuvirth will compete for playing time with Jhonas Enroth, who has allowed nine goals in the last three games.ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (34-23-5):
Coach Jon Cooper must recast his forward lines with two-time Maurice Richard Trophy winner Stamkos moving back to his No. 1 center role and Callahan arriving on the wing. Tampa Bay got a boost from the return of leading active scorer Valtteri Filppula (41 points) in the 4-2 loss at St. Louis on Tuesday, and Tyler Johnson (38 points) gives the team a strong 1-2-3 punch down the middle. Top-four defenseman Radko Gudas (lower body) missed the last game and his status is uncertain for Thursday.OVERTIME
1. Tampa Bay had a 21.8 percent success rate on the power play with Stamkos in the lineup for the first 17 games and has converted 15.4 percent of its opportunities since.
2. Buffalo C Tyler Ennis has collected four goals and an assist in his last four games to tie Cody Hodgson for the team lead with 32 points.
3. Lightning D Victor Hedman has recorded 14 points in his last 12 contests and 40 overall, which now is second among active players on the roster.PREDICTION:
Lightning 5, Sabres 1
Stats and Records