The cross-conference rivals meet for the first and only time this season. Last year the Lightning took the only matchup between the clubs by earning a 5-4 victory at home behind two power-play goals from Dominic Moore.
Tampa Bay can breathe a little easier now that it has its first win of the New Year under its belt. On Tuesday, the Bolts knocked off the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins to snap a season-high seven-game losing streak and add one to the win column after opening the month of January with a record of 0-6-1. They’ll look to make it two in a row on Friday at the American Airlines Center, while Dallas seeks to avoid losing its fourth straight game and third in a row at home.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay kicks off the first game of a back-to-back set on Friday against the Stars before concluding the swing the very next night in Phoenix. After enduring seven consecutive losses, the Lightning finally collected their first win of 2012 and it couldn’t have come against a more appropriate opponent. Eight months after the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins ousted the Bolts from the playoffs in a decisive Eastern Conference Final Game 7 showdown, the Lightning returned the favor on Tuesday with a 5-3 win over Boston. Dominic Moore snapped a 3-3 tie with 3:45 left in the third as the Bolts handed the Bruins their second loss in three games. Vincent Lecavalier, Tom Pyatt and Ryan Malone also scored for Tampa Bay, which held four one-goal leads throughout the contest before pulling away thanks to Steven Stamkos’ league-leading 31st goal of the season into an empty net with 21 seconds to go in regulation.
STARS – Dallas wraps up a two-game home stand against the Lightning Friday before hitting the road immediately following the game to take on Minnesota the very next night to conclude the second half of a back-to-back set. Before traveling to the Twin Cities, however, the Stars will attempt to leave home with a win after falling 3-2 in a shootout to the Red Wings on Tuesday night. Brenden Morrow helped erase a one-goal deficit while on the power play to tie things at one in the first period before Loui Eriksson gave Dallas a 2-1 lead. It didn’t last long, as Detroit’s Jiri Hudler evened the scored at two apiece just over a minute into the second period, then notched the game-deciding goal in the shootout to lift Detroit to victory. The defeat was Dallas’ third in a row by a single goal.
Lightning forward Steven Stamkos is riding a five-game point streak with three goals and as many assists in that span, while captain Vincent Lecavalier has recorded a multi-point game in three straight and in four of the past five. Dallas’ Michael Ryder has three points in his past five games, while Eric Nystrom has points in two of his past four outings.
LIGHTNING – Mattias Ohlund (knee, placed on Injured Reserve), Victor Hedman (concussion, out indefinitely, placed on Injured Reserve), Adam Hall (upper body, out 8 weeks, placed on Injured Reserve), Ryan Shannon (lower body, out 2-4 weeks, placed on Injured Reserve), Dana Tyrell (lower body, day-to-day), Marc-Andre Bergeron (upper body, day-to-day) and JT Wyman (upper body, day-to-day).
STARS – Jamie Benn (appendectomy), Philip Larsen (head), Mike Ribeiro (knee) and Tomas Vincour (knee).
“When the puck dropped, we had emotion. I find that at the beginning of periods or at the end of periods, we get scared and get off and lose confidence. I don’t even care about the score. I wanted to fight. When the puck drops, we’re going to fight.” – Lightning head coach Guy Boucher, on what led to a 5-3 win over the Bruins and what he expects again Friday night against the Stars
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