The Tampa Bay Lightning will attempt to climb back into the win column as they end their two-game road trip tonight against the Penguins at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh.
The Lightning have found success in Pittsburgh in the past, winning eight of the past nine in the Mellon Arena. On December 23, the Tampa Bay defeated the Pens 2-0 at Mellon Arena in the only previous meeting between these two teams this season.
The Lightning, 17-24-10, enter tonight’s contest off a 3-1 loss yesterday against the Islanders. The loss was the third consecutive for Tampa Bay following a run of three consecutive wins.
Martin St. Louis continues to lead the Lightning in points with 48 and Vincent Lecavalier is pacing the team with 23 goals. That total is good enough for 10th place among all NHL players this season.
The Tampa Bay goaltending situation remains somewhat unsettled after an injury to Mike Smith has forced the Bolts to reach down to their AHL affiliate, Norfolk, for Karri Ramo and newly-signed Mike McKenna. No word on who gets the starting nod in net tonight.
The Penguins (24-23-5) also enter tonight’s contest seeking to halt a three game losing skid. They are currently in fourth place in the Atlantic Division. Tonight’s game opens a four-game home stand following a loss last evening to the Canadiens in Montreal, 4-2.
Pittsburgh features scoring power in spades with the duo of Evgeny Malkin and Sidney Crosby, first and second, respectively, in points in the NHL this season. Malkin leads the team with 22 goals and the Pens have five additional skaters in double-digits for goals this season.
Marc-Andre Fleury has done the yeoman’s work in net this season for the Penguins, appearing in 34 games with a 2.85 goals-against average.
Following tonight’s contest the Lightning return home and settle in for a six-game home stand, which begins Saturday night against the New York Islanders.