NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 3rd (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (16-9-1) at Columbus Blue Jackets (10-14-3), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning hope to bounce back from a loss when they visit the inconsistent Columbus Blue Jackets in Tuesday's battle at Nationwide Arena.
The Lightning recently won two in a row on the heels of a four-game slide, but were back on the losing end in Friday's 3-0 setback against visiting Pittsburgh.
Friday's loss marked the second time Tampa had been shut out in its last four games. However, the Lightning rebounded from their previous blanking -- a 1-0 OT loss in Anaheim on Nov. 22 -- by downing the New York Rangers, 5-0, on Nov. 25 and they hope to repeat that trend on Tuesday.
Marc-Andre Fleury needed to stop only 21 shots to keep Tampa Bay off the scoreboard on Friday. Ben Bishop, meanwhile, allowed two goals on 28 shots for the Lightning, who had a seven-game home winning streak halted.
"I don't know if the score really reflects how close that game was," Tampa Bay forward Tyler Johnson said. "I thought we played very well. Obviously they're a great team and I thought it was a good hockey game."
The Lightning have been a different team at home and on the road this season, going 10-3-0 in Tampa and 6-6-1 everywhere else. The Bolts hope to snap a four-game road losing streak when it visits Columbus on Tuesday.
Tampa Bay has eight wins and a tie in its 13 all-time meetings against the Blue Jackets. The Lightning halted a two-game road losing streak in this series by recording a 3-2 regulation win when they last visited Columbus on Dec. 17, 2011. Tampa's Steven Stamkos, who is currently sidelined indefinitely with a broken right leg, scored the game-winner in that victory from nearly two years ago.
The Blue Jackets have had their share of ups and downs this season, but the 2013-14 season has featured more valleys than peaks for the 10-14-3 club. Columbus has alternated wins and losses over its last eight games and is 5-9-3 since its last winning streak, a three-game run from Oct. 20-25.
After beating visiting Edmonton by a 4-2 score on Friday, the Jackets were dealt a 3-1 road loss the following night in Boston. Milan Lucic scored twice and Chad Johnson needed to make just 13 saves to lead the Bruins to Saturday's triumph at TD Garden.
Ryan Johansen provided the lone offense for the Blue Jackets, while Curtis McElhinney played well in defeat, stopping 33 shots.
"We were two steps behind," lamented Columbus head coach Todd Richards. "In every aspect of the game, they were better than us. We made it much too easy for them."
Sergei Bobrovsky expects to get the start in net for Columbus on Tuesday. He is 0-1-0 with a lofty 7.94 goals against average in three career outings against Tampa Bay, but this would be his first game against the Lightning as a member of the Blue Jackets.
Bishop earned the win in his only career appearance against Columbus, posting a victory in a relief outing for the St. Louis Blues on March 7, 2011.
The Blue Jackets are expected to get centerman Brandon Dubinsky back tonight after he missed the last six games due to an injured right ankle. Dubinsky, who was activated off injured reserve on Monday, is second on Columbus this season in assists (10) and is third in points (15).
12/03 10:50:26 ET