Lightning (15-10-3, 33 Points) at Oilers (10-12-5, 25 Points)
Last 10: Tampa Bay (6-3-1); Edmonton (6-2-2)
Season Series: This is the first and only meeting of the season between the two clubs. Last season, Tampa Bay hosted Edmonton on Dec. 9 at the St. Pete Times Forum with the Oilers earning a 3-2 victory.
The Big Story: Both teams have been hot lately and come in with similar records in their last 10 games. Tampa Bay enters the contest with a record of 6-3-1 in its last 10 while Edmonton comes in at 6-2-2. Tampa Bay is looking for its first win against Edmonton in nearly three years since its last victory during the 2007-08 season. The Lightning, however, have won two of the past three at Rexall Place, where Edmonton posts the league’s second-worst home record at 4-6-2, winning just half of its games there.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay plays its second road contest on its three-game trip away from home in Edmonton tonight. Tonight’s game is the first in a back-to-back contest, with the road trip wrapping up tomorrow night in Vancouver. Things did not get off to the good start the team would have liked following the opening contest of the trip Tuesday night in Calgary. The Lightning gave a valiant effort, roaring back from a three-goal deficit to make the score 3-2 with Johan Harju’s first career NHL goal and an additional tally by Ryan Malone. Calgary added a power-play goal in the final period though to earn the win. While there has been much buzz lately about Steven Stamkos’ six-game goal-scoring drought, neither Head Coach Guy Boucher, his team nor Stamkos himself is too worried. The Lightning center is still getting plenty of chances and creating scoring for other role players on the team to give the Lightning a chance to win, which according to Stamkos, is more important than his own individual performance.
OILERS – Edmonton is in the midst of a six-game home stand, which is its longest of the season. Tonight’s game marks the halfway point of the team’s stretch as the take on the Lightning in the only meeting between the two clubs this season. The Oilers have points in five straight, a streak that includes four wins, with a 3-2 shootout loss to Anaheim in their last game as the only thing preventing them from extending the winning streak. Edmonton came back from an early deficit to score twice in the third period, getting goals from Ryan Jones and Dustin Penner, but Ducks rookie Cam Fowler had the final goal in the shootout to earn the victory. Edmonton looks to rebound against the Bolts tonight, but has alternated wins and losses in each of its last four games at home.
Who’s Hot: Tampa Bay’s Ryan Malone has been leading the way with seven points during his team-high five-game point streak. Victor Hedman has a goal and two assists in his last three straight games, while Nate Thompson and rookie Johan Harju each have points in two straight. Edmonton’s Ryan Jones has three goals in as many games and Magnus Paajarvi has a four-game assist streak going with as many helpers in that span.
Notable Quotable: “He's not sinking. He's getting the same chances. They're just not going in. So, for him, right now, it's not a slump. It's not like his skills are gone. Teams are just keying so much on him that it takes away from his scoring. But it doesn't take away from his game. He's getting scoring chances. If he was playing bad, I'd be worried, but he's playing good. He's a threat.” – Head Coach Guy Boucher, on whether star forward Steven Stamkos is in a scoring slump
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