NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 24th (All times Eastern)
Columbus Blue Jackets (13-29-6) at Tampa Bay Lightning (20-23-4), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to enter the All-Star break with their longest winning streak of the season, as they host the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight at Tampa Times Forum.
After opening January on a seven-game slide, the Lightning have since strung together three straight victories to tie their longest winning streak of the season.
Despite the recent hot stretch, Tampa still has a lot of work to do after this weekend's All-Star break if it wants to make the playoffs. Entering today's action, the Bolts are tied for 13th in the Eastern Conference and are nine points out of a postseason berth.
The Lightning's most recent victory came this past Saturday in Phoenix, as Tampa posted a 4-3 regulation win over the Coyotes. Steve Downie scored the eventual game-winning goal in the second period and also added an assist for the Bolts.
Martin St. Louis had a goal and an assist, while Steven Stamkos and Teddy Purcell also scored. Dwayne Roloson stopped 33-of-36 shots for the Lightning, who haven't won four in a row since a five-game winning streak from March 25- April 3 of last season.
"He played a great game tonight," Stamkos said of Roloson's performance. "He made a lot of huge saves early that allowed us to get the lead."
Tampa Bay is 12-7-1 as the host this year compared to an 8-16-3 mark on the road. Tonight's test kicks off a five-game homestand for the Bolts, who will resume the residency next Tuesday against Washington.
The Blue Jackets, who are dead last in the NHL with 32 points, have lost three straight and four of their last five. Columbus was dealt a 4-1 loss last night in Nashville, as Mike Fisher scored twice and Pekka Rinne made 25 saves as for the Predators.
Rick Nash provided the lone goal for the Blue Jackets, while Steve Mason was tagged in defeat for all four goals on 29 shots.
Columbus is just 5-16-3 as the guest this year and is playing the third tilt of a six-game road trip tonight. The Blue Jackets will continue the trek next Tuesday in San Jose.
The Lightning have won two straight and three of the last four meetings against Columbus and are also 7-3 with a tie over the previous 11 encounters. The Blue Jackets are just 1-3-2 all-time in Tampa and haven't won there since Jan. 2, 2004.
01/24 11:02:27 ET