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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Wednesday, March 3rd (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (36-17-7-5) at Chicago Blackhawks (18-33-9-5), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning, seeking their sixth consecutive victory, hope to sit atop the Eastern Conference tonight after visiting the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center.

With 84 points, Tampa is tied with Ottawa, Philadelphia and Toronto for the Eastern Conference lead. Both the Senators and Flyers will be in action tonight as well.

On Monday, Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 16 shots for his third shutout of the season and Vincent Lecavalier tallied a goal and an assist, as the Lightning blanked the Colorado Avalanche, 3-0, at the Pepsi Center.

Khabibulin made five saves in the first period, seven in the second and four more in the third as he recorded his 35th career shutout.

Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis also scored goals for the Lightning, who improved to 15-1-1-2 in their last 19 contests.

Lecavalier has five goals in his last five games, while Richards has four goals in his last four contests. St. Louis, who won his second consecutive NHL Offensive Player of the Month award, has notched at least a point in 12 straight games (8g, 13a) and trails Detroit's Robert Lang by a single point for the overall league scoring lead.

The Bolts carry a 19-point Southeast Division lead over second-place Florida into tonight. Tampa, which set a franchise record with its 18th road win of the season, will host New Jersey on Friday.

Chicago, meanwhile, is 2-4-2 in its last eight games. Scott Walker and Kimmo Timonen scored for Nashville and Tyler Arnason and Matt Keith countered for Chicago, as the Predators and Blackhawks skated to a 2-2 tie at the Gaylord Entertainment Center on Monday.

Keith fired in the rebound of a shot by Bryan Berard with goalie Tomas Vokoun on his back to even the score at 2-2 with 1:44 left in the third period. It was his first NHL goal in five career games -- all this month.

Goaltender Adam Munro made his NHL debut and turned aside 33 shots for Chicago, which has played to a 2-2 tie in consecutive games. The Hawks deadlocked Florida on Sunday.

The Blackhawks, who played with nine rookies in the lineup, scored once on three chances on the power play.

Chicago, with 50 points, holds the worst record in the Western Conference standings -- two behind Columbus.

The Blackhawks, 1-3-1 in their last five home games, kick off a three-game set tonight. They'll host Anaheim on Friday.

Chicago is 7-0-2 in the last nine meetings with Tampa Bay, and the Lightning have lost five straight in the Windy City.

03/03 10:47:54 ET


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