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Tampa Bay Lightning (0-1-0, 0 Points) vs. Chicago Blackhawks (1-0-0, 2 Points)
Sun Sports; AM 970 WFLA
Traveling to the United Center for the middle game of a three-game road trip, the Tampa Bay Lightning look for their first win of the 2013-14 season tonight at 8 p.m. versus the Chicago Blackhawks. Saturday’s matchup will be the first of two meetings this year between the clubs with the second contest taking place at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on October 24.
The Big Story:
The Lightning look to continue their success against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks Saturday night. Tampa Bay has won their past three games against the Blackhawks, including a 2-0 whitewash of Chicago the last time the two teams played in the Windy City on April 3, 2011. In the Lightning and Blackhawks most recent meeting on November 4, 2011, Steven Stamkos netted a hat trick in a 5-4 overtime victory. Martin St. Louis is also currently riding a three-game point streak versus Chicago.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay is looking to snap an eight-game road losing streak that dates back to last season when they face the Blackhawks Saturday night. With the NHL schedulers providing an early first test for the Lightning, tonight’s contest will be the second consecutive game against a 2012-13 Stanley Cup finalist. The power-play would be the difference in Tampa Bay’s first loss of the season on Thursday, as they were unable to convert on five separate opportunities, including nearly five minutes on the 5-on-3 advantage throughout the game. The Lightning also gave up two shorthanded goals, one coming off a penalty shot attempt by Chris Kelly, in the 3-1 loss.
BLACKHAWKS – Coming into Saturday’s contest on three day’s rest, Chicago completes a short two-game homestand before heading to St. Louis to play the Blues next Wednesday. Owning the lead three different times by the start of the third period, Chicago found themselves tied with the Washington Capitals 59 seconds into the final frame. The Caps then took the lead less than four minutes later, but the Blackhawks rallied with three goals in the 6-4 win. With the victory, Chicago became the first team since the 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins to win their season-opening game following a Stanley Cup championship.
Valtteri Filppula potted his first goal of the season and as a member of the Bolts midway through the second period Thursday. Blueliner Eric Brewer and forward Alex Killorn both added assists on the play. Brandon Saad leads all Blackhawks with three points after notching one goal and two assists in the team’s home opener on Tuesday. Patrick Kane’s first period goal against Washington last game was his 150th career goal.
Twitter Stat Pack:
@RealStamkos91 has recorded four goals and an assist in his past two games against the @NHLBlackhawks.
The #Bolts kick-off a season-long seven-game homestand at the @tbtimesforum on October 10 vs. the #FlaPanthers.
In his last three games, Martin St. Louis has one goal and five assists against the @NHLBlackhawks.
@NateThompson44 will be the alternate captain in Chicago and any road game thereafter, while @MattCarle25 will don the distinction at home.
@Tjohnny09 won a #TBLighting-high 61-percent of draws in the face-off circle in 15:46 of time on ice Thursday vs. the #Bruins.
Recording five hits in the season-opener vs. @NHLBruins, @radkogudas led the #Bolts in that category Thursday.
“It’s early in the season the power-play can be fixed. It was just too bad that ended up being the difference. Ultimately you have to win the special team’s war, regardless if it’s the power-play or the penalty kill and their penalty kill bested our power-play tonight.” – Head Coach Jon Cooper on the Lightning’s season-opener special teams struggles
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