Lightning (5-1-1) vs. Predators (4-0-3)
Season Series: Tonight’s game marks the first and only matchup between the Lightning and Predators this season. Tampa Bay holds an 8-4-2-0 advantage against Nashville overall coming into tonight’s contest, which is the 15th overall meeting between the teams.
|Oct 22, 2009||SJS@TBL||TBL, 5 - 2|
The Big Story: Both teams are coming in after being shutout in their last game. Tampa Bay looks to finish out its four-game road trip on the right foot and continue its hot start to the season, in which it has gone 7-3-2 and ranks 2nd in the Eastern Conference with 16 points. Tonight’s game will present a challenge however, as the Lightning have not won in San Jose since the 2002-03 season. Mike Smith has been spectacular in goal for the Bolts in his last five games away from home, going 4-1-0 with a 1.39 goals-against average and a .950 save percentage. Despite being held off the score sheet Thursday, Steven Stamkos comes into tonight boasting league-leading numbers with 10 goals, 20 points and four power-play goals.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay wraps up a four-game road swing out west tonight, a trip on which it has gone 1-1-1. The Lightning have gained points in three out of their last four straight, and look to tack on two more before retuning home Tuesday night versus the Maple Leafs. Tampa Bay has received significant contributions from its penalty killing unit, which entered Friday ranked second-best at 90.4%. The unit stepped up big in its last game, going 4-for-4 and killing off a big five-minute major against Los Angeles, although Justin Williams’ goal at 5:20 in the third period proved to be the decisive score in a 1-0 shutout. Mike Smith suffered his first loss in five decisions this season, but played strong, stopping 25 shots.
SHARKS – San Jose returns to HP Pavilion tonight after completing a two-game road set on which it went 0-2-0. Tonight’s game at home is the first of five straight for the Sharks. San Jose has had trouble finding the back of the net recently, as the team’s last pair of consecutive losses were shutouts. Minnesota shut down the Sharks on Tuesday with a 1-0 victory before St. Louis did the same, beating San Jose 2-0. The Sharks come in with losses in three of their last five, with each of those defeats coming after the team scored zero goals in each.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos has 14 points in his last eight games and Martin St. Louis has nine points in his last eight as well. San Jose’s Dany Heatley has registered seven points in his last four contests, while Joe Thornton has eight in his last four.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Dominic Moore (lower body, day-to-day), Matt Smaby (ankle sprain, day-to-day), Victor Hedman (foot contusion, day-to-day), Steve Downie (back, day-to-day) and Simon Gagne (neck, placed on Injured Reserve). SHARKS – Derek Joslin (upper body).
Quotable: “That was a playoff game, and nobody was going to give each other an inch. There wasn't much out there for either team.” – Head Coach Guy Boucher, on the team’s last game, a 1-0 defeat in Los Angeles, from which the Lightning look to bounce back from against the Sharks
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