The Tampa Bay Lightning will raise another Stanley Cup banner and look to begin their quest for a third when facing the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday.
Note: Heavy may earn an affiliate commission if you sign up via a link on this page
The game (7:30 p.m. ET start time) will be televised on ESPN, but if you don’t have cable, anyone in the US can watch the Penguins vs Lightning live on ESPN+:
ESPN+ will have about 75 exclusive national NHL games (no blackouts for in-market viewers) this season. It also includes every out-of-market, non-nationally televised game (about 1,000 games in total), plus dozens of other live sports, every 30-for-30 documentary in existence and additional original content (both video and written) all for $6.99 for a month or $69.99 for a year (or about seven cents per NHL game if you want to look at it that way). It’s a clear must-have option for NHL fans in the United States.
If you also want Disney+ and Hulu, you can get all three for $13.99 per month. Separately, the three streaming services would cost a total $20.97 per month, so you’re saving about 33 percent:
Once signed up for ESPN+, you can watch the Penguins vs Lightning live on the ESPN app on your Roku, Roku TV, Amazon Fire TV or Firestick, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4 or 5, Xbox One or Series X/S, any device with Android TV (such as a Sony TV or Nvidia Shield), Samsung Smart TV, Oculus Go, iPhone, Android phone, iPad or Android tablet.
You can also watch on your computer via ESPN.com.
Penguins vs Lightning Preview
Tampa Bay begins its title defense with one of its stars back for regular season action for the first time since 2020. Pittsburgh will go without two of its stars due to injury.
Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov missed all of the regular season in 2020-2021 but returned healthy in time for the playoff run. He tallied 32 points in 23 playoff games.
Kucherov last played a regular season game for the Lightning on March 10, 2020, when he had an assist against Toronto. A full season with Kucherov could make a big difference offensively. He posted 85 points in 2019-2020 in 68 games and put up 100 points or more the previous two seasons when he played 80 or more games.
Pittsburgh won’t have Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin against the Lightning. Crosby, 34, has been considered arguably the best player in the league during his career. Malkin gave the Penguins offensive firepower on their second line.
“If we’re going to have success, we’re going to have to play a stingy game,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said according to Mike DeFabo of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. “It’s going to take a collective effort and attention to detail. With some of the game-breakers that aren’t in our lineup right now, we can’t look to those guys to be the difference. We have to build a team game that’s going to give us the best chance to be successful.”
Scoring against the Lightning doesn’t come easy no matter who is shooting the puck. Lightning goalie Andre Vasilevskiy has a career .920 save percentage, and he’s coming off a playoff run where he allowed 1.90 goals per game.
In front of him, the Penguins will have to contend with defenseman Victor Hedman and company. Hedman had a plus-minus score of 28 last season and 45 points on offense.
Pittsburgh will look to forwards such as Jeff Carter and Jason Zucker to get points. Defenseman Kris Letang can produce points, but he doesn’t have a history of generating much offense without Crosby and Malkin on the ice according to The Athletic’s Dom Luszczyszyn.
History doesn’t give the Penguins much of a chance though as the Lightning have won their last seven home openers according to NHL.com. Letang and company won’t worry about that though.
“We have to do it with 22 guys at a time, battle as a team, playing a nice structured game and we’ll be fine,” Letang said per DeFabo. “We have guys that know how to win. They know the recipe. I’m fully confident some people will step up and try to fill the big shoes.”