The Lightning face defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh tonight at Amalie Arena, the team that bounced it from the Eastern Conference finals last season in seven games.
The Penguins (19-9-1) have won four straight and are fighting the Rangers for the top spot in the Metropolitan Division.
The Lightning (14-12-2) has lost six of its last seven with the lone victory being a shotout win against the Capitals last Saturday.
Coach Jon Cooper said after this morning’s optional skate that his team needs to generate more offense (just three goals in its last three games). That, Cooper said, begins with playing better defense and creating turnovers.
Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy will make his first start since Dec. 1 when he allowed four goals in less than 21 minutes at St. Louis. He’s allowed nine goals in his last two starts, but looked good Thursday when he stopped nine of 10 shots in relief of Ben Bishop during a 5-1 loss to Vancouver.
Vasilevskiy played well against the Penguins last May in the conference finals when subbing for the injured Ben Bishop.