Last 10: Tampa Bay (3-6-1); Edmonton (5-3-2)
Season Series: This is the only meeting between the two clubs this season.
The Big Story: The Lightning have compiled a 4-1-0 regular season record against Edmonton in the last five seasons, accounting for a .800 winning percentage. That mark is the Bolts’ best against any Northwest Division opponent during that time span, dating back to the 2002-03 season. In addition, the Oilers will broadcast tonight’s contest as the first-ever live webcast of an NHL regular-season game, available on edmontonoilers.com.
LIGHTNING - This is the final game of a three-game home stand for the Bolts. On Friday, the Lightning will travel to the Pepsi Center to wrap up their season series with the Avalanche before heading on a 13-day road trip through the Midwest that concludes on Long Island. Forward Paul Szczechura returned in Tampa Bay’s last game on Monday against Washington after missing time due to an upper body injury. The Lightning’s penalty kill unit has found success in their last two home sets. In its last five games at the St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa Bay has killed 19 of 21 penalties equaling a 91 percent success rate.
OILERS - Tonight is Edmonton’s fifth game in a six-game road trip. After a loss against Vancouver to close out November, the Oilers have won three straight, defeating Detroit 4-1 and beating Dallas and Florida 3-2 in shootouts. In each of the shootout wins, Shawn Horcoff scored the game-deciding goal. Backup goalie Jeff Deslauriers has earned three consecutive road wins.
- For the Lightning, Jeff Halpern and Steve Downie each have recorded a pair of goals and an assist over their last four games.
- Ryan Malone has a goal and two assists in his last four as well, while Vincent Lecavalier has totaled three points, also in his last four.
- The Oilers’ Robert Nilsson has a goal and two helpers in his last three contests and Ladislav Smid the same in his last two. Lubomir Visnovsky has tallied four points over his last three games.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – None; OILERS – Mike Comrie (mononucleosis), Nikolai Khabibulin (back), Ales Hemsky (shoulder), Taylor Chorney (ankle), Fernando Pisani (colitis), and Denis Grebeshkov (knee).
Quotable: “I feel that I’m playing a little better now than I was in some of those stretches when I was getting points. I think I’ve been better lately, my faceoffs are better, I’m making good plays with the puck and I feel pretty good. It’s just the points aren’t coming. But I feel the hard work is going to get rewarded, so I’m not really worried about it.” – Steven Stamkos.