Tampa Bay Lightning to ice weak lineup against the Maple Leafs

Julien Trekker
April 17, 2024  (2:44 PM)

Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Jon Cooper in a press conference.
Photo credit: Screenshot

The Tampa Bay Lightning will ice a weak lineup tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs for their season finale as they get prepared for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

For the Leafs 82nd game of the season, a big challenge awaits Auston Matthews as he looks to score his 70th goal: the Lightning.
Fortunately for him, it looks like the Lightning will send a weakened lineup tonight.
Notably, goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy will get some rest, as Matt Tomkins will be between the pipes:
"Matt Tomkins first goalie off the ice at Lightning optional skate

Projected starter tonight against Leafs "

But that's not all. Almost all regular skaters for the Lightning are game-time decision, which could force Jon Cooper to play shorthanded.
"Sheldon Keefe: We have 12 healthy forwards

Jon Cooper: Everyone is questionable tonight"

"#GoBolts coach Jon Cooper said that they could be forced to play shorthanded tonight Game 82 against #LeafsForever because of injuries."

With Matthews looking for his 70th goal, and Nikita Kucherov eyeing his 100th assist, it promises to be an interesting game.
"Jon Cooper on his expectations for the game tonight: "I've coached in a few of these and I don't know. They are tough to predict. Some have been nail biters and some nobody touches each other out there. I'm not sure what is going to happen other than the fact that there are probably two storylines everybody is looking for and some TV networks have picked this game up because of the anticipation of something happening so, on a night where there is not a ton going on, this is probably one there will be a lot of eyes on""

Cooper sarcastically suggested that both teams remove their goalies in the first five minutes of the game so that they can get it over with:
"Auston Matthews (69 goals) and Nikita Kucherov (99 assists) both away from significant milestones tonight. Lightning coach Jon Cooper joked both teams should pull their goalies and get them over within the first five minutes of the game. "

More to come.
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Tampa Bay Lightning to ice weak lineup against the Maple Leafs

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