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Lightning (2-1-0) at Flames (1-0-0)
2009-10: Tampa Bay (34-36-12, 80 Points – 12th East); Calgary (40-32-10, 90 Points – 10th West)
Inside The Series: Tonight’s matchup between the former 2004 Stanley Cup Final rivals at the Pengrowth Saddledome is the first-ever exhibition game to be played between the pair of teams.
The Big Story: Tampa Bay will attempt to go 3-1-0 to open the preseason for just the fourth time in the team’s history, and the first since 2008. Former Bolt Cory Sarich will be going up against his former team tonight, as will Calgary’s Assistant General Manager Jay Feaster, who served as the architect behind the Lightning’s championship team six years ago.
LIGHTNING – The Bolts wrap up the final game of the team’s current four-game road trip before returning home on Sunday. Tampa Bay enters tonight’s game with a 2-1-0 record through three games, with the club’s only loss coming on Thursday at Edmonton. Randy Jones had a goal against the Oilers, his first as a member of the Lightning, and Carter Ashton also scored with the man advantage in the 5-2 defeat. Ashton, along with 2010 sixth overall pick Brett Connolly and prospect Richard Panik, were released from the preseason roster on Friday and sent back to their respective junior clubs.
FLAMES – Calgary will play only its second preseason game tonight, while this evening’s contest marks the fourth in five days for Tampa Bay. The Flames opened up the 2010 exhibition campaign on the right foot Tuesday night, winning two split squad matches against Vancouver. Jarome Iginla, Niklas Hagman, Rene Bourque and Ales Kotalik were among the goal scorers for the Flames. Calgary will play once more at home before hitting the road for two games versus the New York Islanders and Edmonton.
Who To Watch For: The Lightning’s top forwards are slated on the roster tonight for Tampa Bay, including 51-goal scorer Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Ryan Malone and Steve Downie. Calgary, on the other hand, will feature Rene Bourque, Curtis Glencross, Craig Conroy, Mark Giordano and Ales Kotalik.
Injuries: LIGHTNING - Mike Smith (fractured finger tip, out 1-2 weeks), Mitch Fadden (upper body, day-to-day), Marc-Antoine Pouliot (upper body, day-to-day), Matt Smaby (upper body, day-to-day) and Sean Bergenheim (upper body, day-to-day). FLAMES – None.
Quotable: “One thing I'm looking for are guys who can kill penalties, guys who are willing to pay the price to block shots, guys who are quick enough to get into shooting lanes. We're looking for guys who can grind it out, and on top of that, if they have hand-eye coordination skills, then the package is better.” – Head Coach Guy Boucher, on the styles of play he expects from his players