Lightning (6-5-0, 12 Points) vs. Canadiens (6-4-1, 13 Points)
TV/Radio: Sun Sports HD; TSN; AM 970 WFLA
It’s the first of three meetings between the Bolts and Habs. Last season, the two clubs split the four-game season series, with the home team winning twice each. Following Tuesday’s matchup, the teams will meet again on March 9 in Tampa Bay and on April 18 in Montreal.
The Big Story:
Following a tough road trip in which the Bolts dropped each of the three games played away from home, the club finally returns home Tuesday to the Tampa Bay Times Forum, where it is 5-1-0 on the season. If the team’s performance in its own barn thus far is any indication, that should help the Lightning snap a four-game skid. Montreal, meanwhile, has a similar streak going of its own, as the Habs will look to avoid losing a fourth consecutive game following three straight defeats.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay plays the first of two games at home this week when it takes on the Canadiens. The Lightning will also play Thursday at the Times Forum against the division-rival Capitals before hitting the road for one game against the Panthers down in Sunrise on Saturday. Losers of four straight, the Lightning have seemed to get away from what made them so successful in starting the season with six wins in their first seven games. It seems as if the goal-scoring has dried up and that the defense hasn’t been as strong, however, to their credit, the team did see a lot of good scoring chances on the road trip that just didn’t go their way. Not to mention, it played some tough opponents. Vincent Lecavalier had the team’s only goal in Sunday’s 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers, and Mathieu Garon allowed three goals on 19 shots before Anders Lindback came in to relieve him, making 11 saves as the Lightning dropped to 1-4-0 on the road this season.
CANADIENS – Montreal travels to Tampa Bay to complete the first contest of a two-game set through the Sunshine State, where it will also face off against the Panthers on Thursday before returning north of the border. Like the Lightning, wins have been hard to come by for the Habs as well, losers of three straight. Prior to the skid, Montreal had won six of its past seven games, and will look to rebound from a 6-0 whitewash at the hands of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night at the Bell Centre. The Habs allowed two goals in each period, although did generate 37 shots throughout the game, and spent the majority of the third period collecting penalty minutes as a result of numerous infractions, falling to 0-2-1 in their past three games.
Bolts forward Steven Stamkos has a pair of goals and three points in his past four games and leads the team with 17 points in 11 total games this season. For Montreal, Andrei Markov has picked up two assists in his past three outings, while Tomas Plekanec has three points in as many games for the Habs.
Marc-Andre Bergeron, Benoit Pouliot, Tom Pyatt and Mathieu Garon are all former members of the Canadiens, while Lightning head coach Guy Boucher and his staff served behind the bench for Montreal’s top minor-league affiliate of the American Hockey League, the Hamilton Bulldogs, during the 2009-10 season.
Twitter Stat Pack:
Cory Conacher leads all NHL rookies for goals (5), assists (7) and points (12). Tampa Bay leads the NHL with 32 goals at home. The Lightning rank fourth in the league with 13 power-play goals on the season. Martin St. Louis ranks third among all NHL forwards for average ice time per game with 21:35. Tampa Bay is just one of two teams in the league, the other being Pittsburgh, to have two players rank in the Top 10 in scoring
“We've got to find a way. I feel like we keep saying that every time. We're a lot better team than we're playing on the road.” – Steven Stamkos, on believing that the team’s most recent road trip is not indicative of the team’s overall performance
|Back to top ↑|