Both the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils have flubbed on the power play as of late and thats contributing to recent skids for both teams. Tampa Bay went 1-for-4 on the power play in Saturday's loss to the Flyers and the Devils went 0-for-3 in their 2-1 loss at home to the Canadiens.The Lightning have only one win in their past seven games and the Devils are 2-5 in their last seven games and without a win in regulation since Nov. 25. These two teams are both Eastern conference bottom dwellers at this point in the season; Tampa Bay is 13th in the East with 26 points and New Jersey is 12th with 29 points.
This marks second game between the teams this season, with New Jersey winning 4-2 over the Lightning on Nov. 19.
Both Teams at a glance:
Lightning: After a weeklong road trip, the Bolts (12-15-2) will play a short two game home-stand that wraps up with Calgary on Thursday. December hasn't been to kind to the Lightning, who have only one win so far this month.
Mathieu Garon had 27 saves in the loss to the Flyers on Saturday night but won't be in net tonight against the Devils. Instead, Dwayne Roloson gets the nod which is a bit surprising after Garon's solid effort Saturday night. Garon has started three straight games and regardless of his solid effort, Roloson has been patiently waiting to bounce back from his dismal season numbers. He deserves that chance tonight.
Devils: New Jersey has not won in regulation since their 1-0 shootout win over the New York Islanders on Nov. 25. One thing going well for the Devils though has been their penalty kill, that has only allowed four goals on the last 21 attempts. This will be a struggle for a Lightning team that has really struggled on the power play.
Johan Hedberg will start for the Devils tonight, allowing Martin Brodeur to get some rest before presumably starting Tuesday against the Panthers. Hedberg is 1-7-1 with a 3.76 GAA in nine career starts at Tampa Bay. The Devils though, have allowed four goals in three out of their last five games. Look for the Lightning to take advantage of that tonight.
Keys to the game for the Bolts:
A lot of talk has surrounded the Lightning's play on defense and with two neutral zone turnovers in Saturday night's loss to the Flyers, the rumors regarding the team searching for a top four defensemen have heated up. Defensive improvement though isn't the only key to a Lightning victory tonight. A win also depends on a more aggressive attack on offense. In their last seven games, Tampa Bay has scored three goals or less. The Lightning need to play aggressive offensively, stop caring about the home run pass, and just take shots at the net no matter how ugly they might look at first glance. When a team struggles to score goals, it needs to get back to the basics and hone in on fundamentals and the Lightning have not done a good job of that recently.
Lightning:Pavel Kubina (lower body injury) practiced this morning with the team and could be in the lineup tonight. Marty St. Louis (facial and orbital bone fractures) is out indefinately and Mattias Ohlund (knees) is still listed on the Injured Reserve.
WHERE: St. Pete Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
WHEN: 7 PM EST |
MEDIA: VERSUS (cable), 970 WFLA (radio)