Smith in net, Hedman expected back tonight versus Ottawa
The Lightning's final home stand of the season continues tonight as they welcome the Ottawa Senators to the St. Pete Times Forum. The biggest story around the Lightning continues to be Steven Stamkos and his chase for the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy. Entering tonight's games Stamkos' 47 goals trails both Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby by one. With three games remaining Stamkos will need to average a goal a game to reach the 50-goal plateau for the first time. It would be the second time in franchise history after Vincent Lecavalier netted 52 in 2006-07.
As for the game tonight, Mike Smith gets the start in net. The blue line continues to get healthier as Victor Hedman will get back on the ice tonight after missing the previous three games with a lower body injury. With Hedman ready to go, I would expect the team to send Matt Lashoff, who was on emergency recall, back to the Norfolk Admirals.
Speaking of the Admirals, things are really getting interesting for them in the race for the Calder Cup Playoffs. Norfolk got a stellar performance from goaltender Dustin Tokarski and a goal from Mark Parrish en route to a 1-0 win against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last night. The victory tied them with the idle Bridgeport Soundtigers for the final position and one point behind the Penguins. It should be interesting to see how things play out for them over the weekend with a pair of tough games against the Hershey Bears.
During tonight's game the Lightning and Sun Sports will be hosting a broadcast auction where fans can call in and bid on some really great experiences including golf with Marty St. Louis and Dave Andreychuk, dinner with Phil Esposito, a Sun Sports game day experience, a skating party for 50 at the St. Pete Times Forum and more. All proceeds benefit the Lightning Foundation so if you're not going to the game make sure you tune in to Sun Sports and check it out.
The Bolts will practice at the St. Pete Times Forum tomorrow before taking on the Florida Panthers on Saturday.