The Tampa Bay Lightning return home to the St. Pete Times Forum, fresh off two wins in a two-game road swing, to battle the visiting Ottawa Senators.
The victories, against Toronto and Buffalo, showcased some of the best Lightning hockey of the season so far, and gave the team three wins in their last four games. Tampa Bay, in possession of third place in the Southeast Division, ran their record to an even 3-3-3 and found their scoring touch, pounding eight goals past the opposition netminders.
Steven Stamkos, the Lightning’s number one selection in this years entry draft, nabbed his first four career NHL points, including two goals, on the trip, and showed just what level of play Bolt fans can expect to see from him as his career progresses.
Tampa Bay’s goaltending duo of Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig continued to put its outstanding early work in the nets on display, as each picked up one win on the trip. As a result of his win in Toronto, Smith, expected to start in goal against Ottawa, now leads all goalies with an awesome .942 save percentage. Combined, the pair is sporting a 2.33 goals against average, seventh best in the NHL.
The Lightning will face an opponent that has also had some recent success on the road, as the Senators (4-5-1) arrive off back-to-back wins against the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers.
Ottawa boasts a potent offensive attack that can generate shots and scores quickly, led by Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza, each with 12 points on the season and Daniel Alfredsson with 10. Andrej Meszaros
Adding further interest to the match-up, Lightning Assistant Captain Andrej Meszaros will skate against his former team for the first time since the trade that sent him to Tampa Bay for Filip Kuba and Alexandre Picard.
The Lightning will be in town just long enough to unpack and repack, as they head back out on the road for five games following tonight’s one-game home stand. Tampa Bay will visit New Jersey, New York (Rangers), Philadelphia, Washington and Florida, before returning home on November 13th to face the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings.