Last 10: Tampa Bay (3-6-1); Buffalo (6-3-1)
Season Series: The two teams conclude the season series tonight with the last of four contests at HSBC Arena. Buffalo has taken the first three of four from Tampa Bay this season, including a pair of games at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Bolts, however, did pick up a point in one of those games at home in an overtime loss in October.
|Mar 18, 2010||BUF@TBL||BUF, 6 - 2|
|Jan 6, 2010||TBL@BUF||BUF, 5 - 3|
|Oct 24, 2009||BUF@TBL||BUF, 3 - 2|
The Big Story: The Lightning enter tonight’s contest coming off a historic night in Boston on Thursday. Tampa Bay won its 500th victory in franchise history, and in doing so, climbed right back into the thick of the playoff hunt in which they are just six points behind the Bruins for the Eastern Conference’s eighth and final spot. Despite facing a franchise-high 50 shots against, Antero Niittymaki stood strong in net to record a team-record 47 saves as the Bolts won for the second straight time.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay plays its second game on the road tonight as part of its four-game swing away from the St. Pete Times Forum. The trip kicked off with a 5-3 victory at TD Garden against the Bruins on Thursday, in which both Steven Stamkos and Paul Szczechura each scored twice. The pair of goals by Stamkos tied him with Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead with 45. Martin St. Louis also scored and added his 60th assist of the year, marking a career-high. Steve Downie, Kurtis Foster and David Hale all took an early exit from Thursday’s game due to injuries. Mattias Ohlund, who has missed eight games due to a lower body injury, is close to returning to the lineup for Tampa Bay, although no official timetable has been set.
SABRES – Buffalo plays for the second time at home on a three-game stand at HSBC Arena, with tonight’s game being the second half of a back-to-back set. Last night, Buffalo fell to Ottawa 4-2 despite getting goals from Tim Kennedy and Jason Pominville. The loss prevented the team from officially clinching a playoff berth, as the Sabres lost for the fifth straight time in as many matchups this season against the Senators.
Who’s Hot: Vincent Lecavalier comes into tonight with a five-game point streak in which he has recorded as many points. Martin St. Louis also has five points in his last three, while both Steve Downie and Steven Stamkos have points in three straight.
- Buffalo’s Tyler Myers has led the Sabres with six points in as many games, while Tim Connolly and Derek Roy each have three points in their last three games.
Quotable: “We’ve seen a lot here, and you try to be resilient. A lot of things were stacked against us, but we somehow gutted it out.” – Lightning head coach Rick Tocchet, on the team’s 5-3 win in Boston on Thursday.
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