The Anaheim Ducks (4-4-1) make their only trip to Tampa tonight and will be facing a red-hot Lightning team (9-1-1) that enters the game with the most points (19) in the NHL.
“The bottom line is we don’t play them that often but they’ve been a powerhouse Western Conference team for a number of years,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “The thing that’s different with them is we don’t usually see the big, heavy teams a lot and that’s what they are, so it’s definitely a different challenge for us. They’re getting healthier. They’re still missing some really important pieces to their team.”
The banged-up Ducks welcome back D Sami Vatanen, who missed the first nine games of the season after having shoulder surgery.
G Peter Budaj makes his second start of the season tonight. He allowed four goals in an overtime loss at New Jersey on Oct. 17.
Some pregame notes:
- C Steven Stamkos enters the game with an NHL-high 21 points. He’s followed by RW Nikita Kucherov, who has 19. Kucherov leads the NHL with 12 goals. The duo has earned at last a point in the team’s first 11 games, tying the franchise mark set by Marty St. Louis (2009).
- Kucherov also leads the league points-per-game (1.46) and shooting percentage (27.3 percent).
- The Lightning has started the season with six-straight home wins, the longest such streak in franchise history.
- It has earned points in nine-straight games, which is the longest streak since a nine-game run in 2016.
- D Dan Girardi will play his 800th career game tonight.
- RW Ryan Callahan will play his 200th game as a Lightning.