The Lightning return from the road for a pair of home games this week, their first since the season opener over a week ago, before heading up to Atlanta for a one-game road jaunt.
The Bolts (3-1-0, 2nd, Southeast Division) will be seeking to forget their last game, an all-around disastrous outing against the Florida Panthers. The 6-0 shutout, their first loss of the season, was the only blemish on an otherwise successful road trip that saw Tampa Bay come out of Montreal and Philadelphia with wins. The closest thing to a bright spot from the Panthers game was that an injury sustained by captain Vincent Lecavalier turned out to be far less serious than originally feared. A shot from Florida defenseman Brian McCabe late in the 2nd period struck Lecavalier's right hand and he left the ice in pain. He returned in the 3rd period but in obvious discomfort. However, X-rays turned out negative and he is not expected to miss any time.
The story of the year so far for the Lightning has been the blistering start of Steven Stamkos. Stamkos, who tied for the NHL lead in goals last season with 51 already has four this season. Saturday night's shutout marked the first and only time he's been held off the score sheet this season
First up for the Lightning this week will be the Dallas Stars, led by former Bolt Brad Richards, tonight at the St. Pete Times Forum. The Stars are 4-0-0 (1st place, Pacific Division) so far this season, with only one of their wins being decided in regulation time. Richards leads the Stars in points (9), assists (7) and plus/minus (+7). Goaltender Kari Lehtonen has been in net for all four Dallas wins this season. He currently sports a goals against average of 2.39 and a save percentage of..932.
The New York Islanders (2-1-2, tied for 1st, Atlantic Division) follow on Thursday night. They're paced by their points leader Josh Bailey (7) while Rick Dipietro is the primary netminder.
The Lightning conclude this week's action with a trip to Atlanta to take on the Thrashers (3-2-0, 3rd, Southeast Division), the opponent they defeated 5-3 in their home opener on Oct. 9, the last and only time the teams have met so far this season.
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