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Game Preview: New Jersey Devils at Tampa Bay Lightning

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The New Jersey Devils have a tall task ahead, playing one of the most formidable Eastern Conference teams in the whole league.

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

The Matchup: The New Jersey Devils (44-29-9 ; WC2) at the Tampa Bay Lightning (54-23-5 ; 1st, Atlantic ; SBN Blog: Raw Charge)

The Time: 7:00 PM EST

The Broadcast: TV - MSG+, NHLN-US

The Season Series: 3-0 Devils

The Series Preview: All About the Jersey has an in-depth and comprehensive series preview which you can view here.

W2W4: Taylor Hall is playing in his first NHL playoff hockey. After his Hart Trophy-worthy season, it is a very exciting time to get to see Hall in some truly important games. Meanwhile, Lightning captain Steven Stamkos has seen a few playoff games, but it appeared he may miss a game at least when he sustained a lower body injury at the end of the regular season. Such is not the case, as Lightning coach Jon Cooper has announced Stamkos will play tonight in Tampa. For more W2W4, click here.

The Analytics Matchup: The analytics matchup favors Tampa any way you slice it. New Jersey may have won the season series 3-0, but the numbers from those games are not representative of a positive matchup for New Jersey here. To read more on the analytics, Raw Charge posted this very helpful article yesterday with visual aids included.

Lineups: Coach John Hynes has stuck with his guns here in the playoffs. He will name his starting netminder sometime today, most likely after the Devils’ morning skate. There has been no update on the availability of Marcus Johansson, who has practiced multiple days in a row, but hasn’t played since sustaining a concussion from a Brad Marchand elbow to the head. No word on Tampa’s lineup yet, however, Chris Ryan wrote a great piece for NJ.com worth checking out. I’ll link it here.

So: Who takes game one? Who do you have set in your bracket challenge? With all the anticipation of this Devils-Lightning series, what other series are you most interested to see?