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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, April 3rd (All times Eastern)
Calgary Flames (31-38-7) at Tampa Bay Lightning (42-25-9), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The playoff-bound Tampa Bay Lightning will shoot for a fourth win in five games when they host the Calgary Flames for Thursday's inter-conference matchup at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Lightning ended a two-season playoff drought by clinching their first postseason berth since 2011 with Tuesday's 3-1 home win over the Montreal Canadiens.
The victory also forged a two-way tie with the Canadiens for second place in the Atlantic Division. Despite the setback, Montreal also clinched a playoff spot thanks to losses by New Jersey and Washington on Tuesday.
Tyler Johnson's short-handed goal in the third period helped Tampa Bay clinch its playoff spot. The score was tied at 1-1 after 40 minutes when Johnson tallied the game-winner with 7:19 left in the third period. Alex Killorn added an empty-net power-play goal in the final minute to seal the victory.
"The feeling you have before the game to right now, it really feels like all the games we've played bottled up into one," said Tampa Bay head coach Jon Cooper. "I'm excited for what's happening to be honest; it's a really cool feeling."
Ryan Callahan also scored while Ben Bishop made 25 stops for the Lightning, who are 8-1-2 over their last 11 contests.
Tampa Bay is playing the second part of a six-game homestand on Thursday and is 22-8-6 at the Forum this season. After completing the residency, the Bolts will cap their regular-season slate in Washington on April 13.
The Flames are out of the playoff chase in the West and headed for a fifth straight year missing the postseason. The club has lost three of its last four games and was handed a 3-2 loss in Toronto on Tuesday.
Dave Bolland and David Clarkson scored 3 1/2 minutes apart in the third period to help the Maple Leafs halt an eight-game losing streak.
Matt Stajan and Kris Russell accounted for Calgary's goals, with Karri Ramo coming up with 20 saves in defeat.
"It was one of those games where it seemed like the shots and scoring chances were tough to get," said Calgary head coach Bob Hartley. "There wasn't a lot of action going on today and it was tough to generate anything."
The Flames are 0-2-0 so far on a five-game road trip, falling to 13-20-4 as the guest this season.
The Lightning have won eight of the past 11 meetings against the Flames. Tampa Bay notched a 2-0 decision in Calgary on Jan. 3, with Bishop making 19 saves for the shutout. The Bolts also have won two straight and six of their last eight home tests in this series.
04/03 10:46:27 ET
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