NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Friday, January 3rd
(All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (24-12-4) at Calgary Flames (14-20-6), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning look for a second victory in as
many games on their current road trip Friday night as they visit a Calgary
Flames club that continues to struggle on offense.
The Lightning began a four-game swing through Western Canada with a 4-2
victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday. It was Tampa Bay's fourth
straight win on the road and gave the club a 6-1-1 record over its last eight
Valtteri Filppula, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov all scored in the third
period for the Lightning, who also visit Edmonton and Winnipeg on the trip,
and Ben Bishop made 28 saves.
Filppula, who also had an assist, and Johnson scored 20 seconds apart to give
the Bolts the lead and Kucherov responded with a power-play tally with three
seconds left in the frame just over four minutes after the Canucks tied it.
Alex Killorn had a goal in the third period after assisting on Filppula's
"We played a solid road game," Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper said. "We fell
behind, found a way to get the lead and held on to it."
Filppula has notched 32 points in 40 games this season, including five goals
and seven assists over his last eight games, while Johnson has three goals and
an assist in his past four.
Bishop improved to 21-5-3 with a 1.89 goals against average and .935 save
percentage in 30 starts this season. He is 0-2-0 with a 3.55 GAA in two
previous meetings with the Flames.
Calgary looks to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat tonight and has been
outscored 8-1 over its current slump. The Flames began a five-game homestand
with a shootout win over St. Louis on Dec. 23, but were shut out by Edmonton
and Vancouver in their first two games after the Christmas break.
Rookie Sean Monahan finally got the Flames a goal in Tuesday's meeting with
the Philadelphia Flyers, but it was the only one in a 4-1 setback.
"We're building a new culture and we have some young players who we want to
give some ice time and learn what to do out there," said Calgary head coach
Bob Hartley. "But right now is a tough time because we're not scoring goals."
Reto Berra gave up three goals on 20 shots for a Flames club that has been
shut out in three of its last eight games.
While it might not help the offense, defenseman Dennis Wideman is on track to
return tonight for the Flames. He has been sidelined since breaking his hand
on Nov. 27, missing 16 straight games.
Forward Lee Stempniak did miss practice on Thursday, however, due to illness.
The Lightning have won seven of their past 10 versus the Flames and three of
the previous four played in Calgary.
The Flames will give former Lightning goaltender Karri Ramo the start tonight.
He was a sixth-round pick by the Bolts in 2004 and appeared in 48 games with
the club through 2008-09 before going to the Kontinental Hockey League. He has
never before faced Tampa Bay.
01/03 10:31:07 ET