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Lightning (2-0-0) at Oilers (1-0-0)
2009-10: Tampa Bay (34-36-12, 80 Points, 12th Eastern Conference); Edmonton (27-47-8, 62 Points, 15th Western Conference)
Inside The Series: Tonight’s matchup between the Lightning and Oilers is just the second preseason meeting between the two teams. The pair of clubs met for the first time during last season’s exhibition campaign on Sept. 24, 2009, with Tampa Bay earning a 4-3 victory in overtime.
The Big Story: Tampa Bay has gained at least a point in six consecutive exhibition games, a stretch that includes five wins. Already with two wins in as many games under their belts this season, the Bolts are hoping to carry the winning momentum throughout the rest of the team’s road trip. For Edmonton, the Oilers’ first overall selection at this summer’s draft, Taylor Hall, makes his NHL debut tonight. Defenseman Kurtis Foster will also be going up against his former team this evening.
LIGHTNING – The Bolts play in their third preseason game tonight in Edmonton, which is stop number three of four on the club’s preseason road trip before returning to the Bay Area on Sunday. Tonight’s game is the team’s third straight contest in as many nights, as the Bolts will attempt to set a franchise preseason record by winning their first three consecutive games to open an exhibition season. Following a 4-2 victory at Dallas on Tuesday, Tampa Bay squared off against Chicago last night and earned another victory by the same score. Simon Gagne shined in his Lightning debut, leading all scorers with three points. Steven Stamkos, Blair Jones and Carter Ashton also had a goal apiece for Tampa Bay. Goaltender Cedrick Desjardins made his NHL and Lightning debuts, earning his first career win, albeit in preseason, by stopping 31 of 33 shots.
OILERS – Tonight’s matchup is Edmonton’s second in the exhibition season, and the first of a four-game home stand. The Oilers kicked off the 2010 campaign last night in Vancouver by defeating the Canucks 3-2. Ben Ondrus, who will appear in tonight’s game against the Lightning, had a goal in the win.
Who To Watch For: For Tampa Bay, the Bolts’ sixth overall pick in this summer’s draft, Brett Connolly, will skate, as will top prospect Carter Ashton who scored on the power play for the Lightning last night against Chicago. Ryan Malone and Steve Downie also return to action tonight, while goaltenders Dustin Tokarski and Dan Ellis will man the net. All eyes will be on Edmonton’s Taylor Hall, after the left wing was selected with the first overall pick at this summer’s draft. Hall will be joined by the Oilers’ top three scorers from last season in Dustin Penner, Sam Gagner and Gilbert Brule.
Injury Report: LIGHTNING – Mike Smith (fractured finger tip, out 1-2 weeks), Mitch Fadden (upper body, day-to-day), Matt Smaby (upper body, day-to-day) and Sean Bergenheim (upper body, day-to-day). OILERS – None.
Quotable: “There were a lot of positive things. They obviously competed very hard, and it showed. The players are really making a conscientious effort to apply what they’ve been working on at training camp.” – General Manager Steve Yzerman, on how his team has performed through two preseason victories