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Tampa Bay Lightning finally getting back on the ice

The Lightning will play their first game in the new round-robin format Monday afternoon.
Credit: AP

TORONTO, ON — After 146 days on the bench, The Tampa Bay Lightning will finally get back on the ice Monday afternoon. The Lightning open their round-robin play against the Washington Capitals, and they'll be looking to turn their regular season fortunes around. The Lightning were unable to get a win in any of their three matchups with the Caps earlier this season.

Puck drop for the game is at 4 p.m., and you can watch the game on Fox Sports Sun.

The Bolts will be without their captain, Steven Stamkos, however. Stamkos has been out with a leg injury and did not practice Sunday. Head coach Jon Cooper says Stamkos was never in the plan for Monday's game against the Capitals. It's also unclear if Victor Hedman will play after joining the team on Friday and getting his first practice in on Saturday.

Here's who the Lightning will have available:

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Nikita Kucherov
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson
Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman
Pat Maroon - Mitchell Stephens - Cedric Paquette

Ryan McDonagh - Erik Cernak
Mikhail Sergachev - Kevin Shattenkirk
Jan Rutta - Zach Bogosian
Braydon Coburn - Luke Schenn

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Curtis McElhinney

Monday's game will be played at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, which will host all Eastern Conference games for the NHL Playoffs. The Western Conference will play its games at Rogers Place in Edmonton. The league is limiting all games to these two arenas to minimize the risk of any coronavirus outbreaks. 

The NHL scrapped the remainder of the regular season and decided to go directly to playoffs after the coronavirus pandemic shut down the league. The Lightning will play three round-robin games to determine seeding for the remainder of the playoffs. Monday they'll play the Capitals at 4 pm, Wednesday they'll play the Bruins, and Saturday they'll take on the Flyers.

The Bolts finished the regular season 43-21-6 record, ranking second in the NHL for wins and tied for third for points (92) and points percentage (.657). Since the holiday break, the team went 25-8-2 to close out the regular season, posting NHL bests for wins, points (52) and points percentage (.743) over that stretch. 

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