NASHVILLE — Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman will return to the lineup against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, SUN).
Hedman did not play in a 2-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday after sustaining a concussion in a 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.
“I’m excited for tonight,” Hedman said. “I’m very happy it was only a one game thing. For me to get back at it, it’s obviously a lot of fun.”
Tampa Bay (4-2-0) begins a four-game road trip against the Central Division and expects a fast game from Nashville’s group of speedy forwards.
“We’ve got to empty the tanks,” Hedman said. “We know it’s going to be a loud building. They have a great team. A lot of speed up front, and obviously a great [defense] corps. One through six is very good, very mobile, and obviously one of the best goaltenders in the League. We know it’s a tough challenge for us.”
Predators goalie Pekka Rinne is 4-0-0 against the Lightning in his career with a 2.70 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. Nashville has won four of five games this season (4-1-0)
“It’s still the beginning of the season,” Rinne said. “I think there’s a lot of room for improvement. I think not only us [but] other teams are going to get better too as the season goes along. At the end of the season when you look at the top teams, it’s a growing process throughout the regular season. The best teams are able to go and find another gear whenever you need it.”
Matt Carle – Jason Garrison
Injured: Andrei Vasilevskiy (blood clot)
Filip Forsberg – Mike Fisher – James Neal
Colin Wilson – Mike Ribeiro – Craig Smith
Viktor Arvidsson – Cody Hodgson – Calle Jarnkrok
Eric Nystrom – Paul Gaustad – Gabriel Bourque
Roman Josi – Shea Weber
Barret Jackman – Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm – Victor Bartley
Scratched: Austin Watson, Anthony Bitetto
Injured: Ryan Ellis (lower body)
Status report: Bishop was the first goaltender off the ice for the Lightning and is expected to start. … Rinne is expected to start for the Predators. … Ellis missed the morning skate. Ellis blocked a shot in a 4-3 win against the Ottawa Senators and did not return. Bartley is expected to take Ellis’ place in the lineup.
Who’s hot: Stamkos has four goals in the past five games. … Neal has three goals in the past two games.