The Tampa Bay Lightning’s visit to the Great White North kicks off tonight when they meet the Edmonton Oilers for the only time this season at Rexall Place in Edmonton.
The Lightning have won four consecutive games against the Oilers, dating back to the 2002-03 season. The win streak includes two victories in a row at Rexall Place.
Tampa Bay, 20-28-12, arrives in Edmonton following a hard-fought win over the Eastern Conference’s top team, the Boston Bruins. The 4-3 win was keyed by Vaclav Prospal’s power play goal, late in the third period. Prospal has compiled four points over the last four games. Also contributing of late, forward Jeff Halpern has tallied a goal and two assists for three points over the previous two games.
Martin St. Louis continues to set the pace for all Tampa Bay scorers with 56 points while Vincent Lecavalier leads the team with 25 goals. Ryan Malone trails Lecavalier by four goals, and he has enjoyed success against Edmonton in the past, notching two goals in three career games against the Oilers.
Edmonton, 29-25-5, is currently in fourth place in the competitive Northwest Division and they are on the cusp of a playoff spot, just one point behind the Minnesota Wild for the eighth and final playoff position in the Western Conference.
Tonight’s game will be the second in a four-game homestand for the Oilers and they are winless in their last three games, going 0-2-1.
The Oilers are led in points and goals by former first round draft choice, forward Ales Hemsky. Hemsky, the 13th pick overall in the 2001 entry draft, has 51 points and 19 goals.
Veteran netminder Dwayne Roloson has been carrying the bulk of the work in the Edmonton net, and he has compiled a very respectable 2.73 goals against average and .915 save percentage over 42 games.
Following tonight’s game, the Lightning continue the northern trek when they travel to Vancouver for a Saturday night contest against the Canucks. Tampa Bay will also call on Calgary before this trip draws to a close and they return home to host Pittsburgh on March 3.