There are a lot of caveats with this line-up, I'll start with the obvious one on the Montreal side. Brandon Prust practiced alongside Plekanec and Gallagher Tuesday morning in practice and has been confirmed for the game tonight. His spot on Plekanec's left side has not been confirmed, so we'll have to wait for warm-ups to see where he skates. Travis Moen, who would be a welcome addition to Montreal's short-handed left side, was also in practice on Tuesday. Moen, however, was wearing a no-contact jersey and is still not cleared for game situations.
Lars Eller comes into the line-up after a bout with the flu and that's much better than giving 3rd line minutes to Ryan White or Daniel Briere. Most unfortunate is the loss of Galchenyuk to the line-up. Galchenyuk has quickly become a reliable top six option and while his 2013-14 season hasn't been as glossy as the previous season, he has been a responsible and dependable presence on the ice.
Tampa Bay has more question marks in its line-up as we head into tonight's game. Superstar goalie Ben Bishop is out at least for tonight's game. His replacement is Anders Lindback. Lindback had a rotten regular season, but only gave up 2 goals in his last three games (two of the three teams he face were non-playoff teams). Lindback has exactly 13 minutes of playoff experience - but he was a perfect 9 for 9 in that lone game. His back-up is Latvian goalie Kristers Gudļevskis who counters Lindback's one game of playoff experience with one game of regular season experience. Gudļevskis was the hero of Latvia's 2-1 quarterfinal loss to Canada in the Olympics in which he stopped 55 of 57 shots. The Bolts won't turn to Gudļevskis unless Lindback blows up big-time, so don't worry about pronouncing his name.
The Lightning will definitely be without the services of Ryan Malone. The less said on that, the better. Palat and Filppula should be back and drastically improve the Bolts top six.
Tale of the Tape
Puck drop is at 7PM ET
|Max Pacioretty||David Desharnais||Thomas Vanek|
|Brandon Prust||Tomas Plekanec||Brendan Gallagher|
|Rene Bourque||Lars Eller||Brian Gionta|
|Michael Bournival||Danny Briere||Dale Weise|
|Andrei Markov||Alexei Emelin|
|Josh Gorges||P.K. Subban|
|Francis Bouillon||Mike Weaver|
Scratches: Douglas Murray, Jarred Tinordi, George Parros, Ryan White
Injuries: Travis Moen (concussion), Alex Galchenyuk (lower body)
As for the Bolts
|Ondrej Palat||Tyler Johnson||Steven Stamkos|
|Alex Killorn||Valtteri Filppula||Ryan Callahan|
|Richard Panik||Nate Thompson||Teddy Purcell|
|J.T. Brown||Cedric Paquette||Nikita Kucherov|
|Sami Salo||Victor Hedman|
|Matt Carle||Radko Gudas|
|Eric Brewer||Mike Kostka|
Scratches: Ryan Malone, B.J. Crombeen, Tom Pyatt, Keith Aulie, Andrej Sustr, Cody Kunyk, Mark Barberio
Injuries: Ben Bishop (upper body), Brian Lee (out for the season), Mattias Ohlund (out for the season)
Check out the opposing side at Raw Charge
This game will be carried on CBC and RDS in Canada and CNBC in the US.
You can stream the HNIC (CBC) feed here.