Lightning (28-28-6, 62 Points) vs. Canadiens (24-29-10, 58 Points)
Last 10: Tampa Bay (5-4-1); Montreal (4-5-1)
Teddy Purcell is currently riding a six-game point streak and has points in 10 of his past 11 games
Steven Stamkos has points in five of his past six games, recording six goals and 13 points in that span
Marty St. Louis enters the matchup with four goals in his past three games
Mathieu Garon has posted three wins in his past four games and has gone 9-3-2 in his past 14 starts in net for the Bolts
Ryan Malone has registered points in four of his past six games
The Lightning have scored five power-play goals scored on their past 16 chances, good for a 31.3 percent efficiency rate
The Lightning are 6 points out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference heading into Tuesday’s game against the Canadiens
Tuesday marks the third of four total meetings on the season between the clubs. So far in 2011-12, the Bolts and Habs have split the first pair of games, with each of the teams’ wins coming in its own home arena.
The Big Story:
Both Tampa Bay and Montreal enjoyed playoff success a year ago, but so far this season has both clubs on the outside looking in. The Lightning, however, are considerably in a better position than the Canadiens, having snapped a two-game losing streak on Sunday to climb back within six points of division-rival Winnipeg for the final spot in the Eastern Conference. The Habs, on the other hand, are riding a four-game losing streak which has them mired in last place in the East with 58 points.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay hosts Montreal as it kicks off a two-game home stand which wraps up Friday against the Eastern Conference-leading Rangers. After dropping each of the first two contests to open a three-game road set, the Bolts rebounded with a 4-3 win at New Jersey in Sunday’s finale to return home with a critical two points in the standings that helped re-establish the club in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Martin St. Louis scored three times to record his second hat trick of the month and sixth of his career, while Matt Gilroy also had a goal to snap a 14-game goal-less drought. Teddy Purcell also added three assists and Mathieu Garon made 19 saves in the win for Tampa Bay, which improved to 11-5-2 since Jan. 17 to remain in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
CANADIENS – Montreal visits the Tampa Bay Times Forum to complete a three-game road swing through the Southeast Division. The Canadiens come in as losers in four straight games, a stretch which has sunk the team to last place in the Eastern Conference standings. The latest defeat came in the team’s most recent game on Sunday against the Panthers, despite holding a one-goal advantage over Florida after the opening 20 minutes. David Desharnais and PK Subban each had goals, but Montreal failed to find the back of the net for the remaining 40 minutes, as it recorded only four shots on goal in the second period and just six in the final frame.
Lightning forward Teddy Purcell is currently riding a six-game point streak and has points in 10 of his past 11 games, while Steven Stamkos has points in five of his past six games, recording six goals and 13 points in that span. For the Canadiens, David Desharnais has two goals and eight assists over his past nine games.
CANADIENS – Travis Moen (upper body), Mathieu Darche (upper body), Brian Gionta (biceps surgery) and Andrei Markov (knee).
“You want to fight until the end. We talked about it before the game. Let's just make sure we keep hanging around, and you never know what happens. We go back home and give ourselves a chance. We did that by getting two points.” – Martin St. Louis, as told to The Tampa Bay Times, following Sunday’s 4-3 win at New Jersey
Marc-Andre Bergeron suited up for the Canadiens during the 2009-10 season, while several members of the Lightning coaching staff including Guy Boucher, Dan Lacroix and Martin Raymond served in the same capacity for Montreal’s top AHL affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, prior to coming to Tampa Bay last season. Bolts forward JT Wyman played three career NHL games as a Canadien in 2009-10 and was a member of the Boucher-coached Bulldogs in Hamilton. Tom Pyatt also skated in 101 career games with Montreal, including an NHL career-high 61 last season. Canadiens forward Mathieu Darche appeared in 73 games with the Lightning during the 2007-08 season.