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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils at the Tampa Bay Lightning

The Devils start their seven game road trip in Tampa Bay, in a match-up against last year’s playoff opponent.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s time for the Devils to face some of their demons.

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils at the Tampa Bay Lightning. SBN Blog: Raw Charge

The Time: 7:30 PM

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+

Who’s Back: The New Jersey Devils will have several more options on their road trip, as players recover from their injuries.

Of those players, Ben Lovejoy was a full participant in practice, while Jesper Bratt is not yet fully cleared to play. However, I would expect Bratt to get into the lineup during the trip. With Marcus Johansson back in the lineup as well, perhaps the second line will finally start producing.

The Lightning’s Injury Woes: The Devils are not the only team with injury concerns at this point of the season. The Lightning will also be without some of their top talent.

When asked about the injuries, Jon Cooper said that both would be out against the Devils, and that Victor Hedman may be out for longer than a week. Because of a hit from Ryan Reaves, the Norris Trophy winner will not be seeing the ice this week. For the Devils, that will likely make their time a bit easier.

What Our Lines Will Look Like: Due to the number of injuries and extra players in practice, it is somewhat difficult to tell which players will be in the lineup tonight against the Lightning.

If Ben Lovejoy is truly game-ready, I would hope he replaces Eric Gryba in the lineup. Lovejoy has far better chemistry with Will Butcher and should not be scratched if healthy. As for the forwards, I tire of Jean-Sebastien Dea being on the second line. Bratt could not be cleared soon enough. But without Stafford on the trip, the only option is to put Joey Anderson into the lineup. That may be on the table for John Hynes tonight, but I wouldn’t be so sure.

The Goalies: John Hynes said that Cory Schneider would not be starting tonight against the Tampa Bay Lightning. For now, Keith Kinkaid will keep the starting role. It’s good to have Schneider back, but I think how much he starts is up to Kinkaid.

Your Thoughts: How do you feel about playing against the Lightning again? Why is Egor Yakovlvev still on the team? Is Hynes planning on doing anything with him? Will Drew Stafford still be on the team when Jesper Bratt is cleared to play? How do you think the Devils will fare against their most recent playoff opponent? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.