Tampa Bay 7-3-0; Edmonton 4-10-2
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The Tampa Bay Lightning meet the Edmonton Oilers for the first of two scheduled games during the regular season Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. The last time the Bolts and Oilers met, Tampa Bay secured a 3-2 shootout victory at the Times Forum in March of the 2011-12 season. All-time the Lightning have a 9-14-2-2 record versus Edmonton in 27 games played.
The Big Story:
Already on a two-game winning streak, the Bolts look to win their sixth straight game against the Western Conference Thursday versus the Oilers. The Lightning have recorded 32 goals on home ice (tied for second in the NHL with San Jose), while Edmonton ranks third in the league for road goals with 29.
LIGHTNING – Playing across the board one of their best games yet Saturday night versus the St. Louis Blues, the Bolts won their second set of back-to-back games this season. Alex Killorn finished the night with three points (one goal, two assists), while Brett Connolly tallied his first goal of the season and Mark Barberio earned his first NHL assist in the 4-2 victory against the Blues. Steven Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula also netted goals.
Barberio and Connolly saw game action in two straight games this season, however P.C. Labrie and Andrej Sustr were scratched for consecutive nights along with defenseman Keith Aulie. With things going right, head coach Jon Cooper has expressed that there will not be many changes made as long as the Lightning continue to roll. However, with 12 games in the next 24 days, there will be more of an opportunity to get a spot in the lineup.
The Bolts also close out their last four-day break this season, besides the Christmas and Olympic break, in which they have split time between solid, high tempo practices, speed skating lessons and some time off.
OILERS – Losing five in a row before Tuesday night, the Oilers saw luck turn in their favor in their first of two games in the Sunshine State. Despite jumping ahead to a two-goal advantage against the Florida Panthers, Edmonton was unable to keep the lead, causing overtime, but Mark Arcobello’s overtime game-winning goal, his second of the night, solidified the win.
The injury bug hit early and hard and along with unproven young talent, it has left the Oilers trying to stay afloat in the standings in the highly competitive Pacific Division. With Tampa Bay being the second of a four-game road trip, Edmonton will look to notch a few more wins on their belt, before returning to Rexall Place midway through next week.
Riding a four-game goal streak, the Lightning’s Stamkos also has points in six straight games (six goals, four assists). His six-game point streak is currently the third (tied with Kevin Shattenkirk) longest active streak in the league. Killorn has five points (two goals, three assists) in his past two games.
LIGHTNING – D Brian Lee (Knee, Out), F Tom Pyatt (Broken Collar Bone, Out); OILERS – G Richard Bachman, G Devan Dubnyk (Ankle), F Taylor Hall (Knee), F Jesse Joensuu (Back), F Steve MacIntyre (Knee), F David Perron (Neck), F Tyler Pitlick (Knee), D Justin Schultz (Groin), F Ryan Smyth (Groin)
10/31 – Lightning recall forward Brett Connolly from the Syracuse Crunch (AHL)
Twitter Stat Pack:
The #TBLightning and the Edmonton Oilers own four of the NHL’s past six first overall selection in the draft (@realstamkos91, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakupov).
The #TBLightning penalty kill unit has killed off 31 of their past 32 penalties and ranks seventh in the @NHL at 85.4% on the PK.
The #Bolts @AKillorn19 now ranks third on the #TBLightning for points with 12.
With a power-play goal in four of their past six games, the #TBLightning’s PP ranks seventh in the league with a 21.4% success rate.
The #Bolts @RadkoGudas ranks sixth in the @NHL with 50 hits and second in the league with 55 penalty minutes.
“There’s nothing like game time, you can practice all you want, but getting into games and having a different colored jersey come down on you and different aspects of the game, it’s hard to replicate. [Mark] Barberio has done this really well – he’s missed, I don’t know how many games in a row, jumped right in, played extremely well and earned another shot. It’s a hard thing to do, it shows your mental makeup when you do it well, but it’s tough. It’s something you feel bad for with the guys who aren’t in every night because there’s nothing like playing games.” – Head coach Jon Cooper on the difficulties facing healthy scratches
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