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Game Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning @ Pittsburgh Penguins

Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning come to Pittsburgh for a clash of two first-place teams in the East.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The top team in the Atlantic Division, the Tampa Bay Lightning, come to town to face the top team in the Metropolitan, the Penguins.

As always, there shouldn't be an absence of star power- even with Sidney Crosby set to miss his third straight game with the mumps.

There's Evgeni Malkin who always goes off on Tampa, and Steven Stamkos who is no slouch himself.

But then you have to go down a level, in name recognition at least, to give some respect to emerging Tampa players. Tyler Johnson has 30 points (9 goals, 21 assists) with 26 of them coming at even strength, making him a +17. His wingers Ondrej Palat (19 points) and Nikita Kucherov (11g, 15a) have also been very effective. Kucherov has all that production despite minimal power play time, and minimal time overall really, playing only 13:52 per game.

Defensively Tampa has been improved by the addition of free agent Anton Stralman (2g, 12a, +15 in a team high 22:44 TOI per game), and Victor Hedman (back from an earlier injury) has 13 points in the 13 games he's played this season.

Perhaps the Penguins can get to their goalie though. Ben Bishop is having a pretty good season (16-6-2, 2.34 GAA, .916 save %) but his career numbers are brutal against Pittsburgh, in a limited sample size. Bishop is 0-2-1, 4.43 and a .876 save % against the Pens.

Read up more on Tampa with:Raw Charge