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Sunday, December 13th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (11-11-9) at Chicago Blackhawks (19-8-3), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The sliding Tampa Bay Lightning will try to avoid a fourth straight loss when they visit the first-place Chicago Blackhawks for tonight's interconference battle at United Center.

In addition to losing three in a row, the Lightning have also dropped seven of their last eight games. Tampa Bay was at least able to record a point in its most recent setback when it dropped a shootout decision Friday in Colorado.

Wojtek Wolski tied the game in the third period on a fortuitous bounce off his body and scored the lone goal in the shootout, as the Avalanche edged the Lightning, 2-1, at Pepsi Center.

Steve Downie lit the lamp for Tampa Bay at 12:12 of the first period and the Bolts led until Wolski tallied with 7:49 remaining in regulation. Antero Niittymaki made 33 saves in a losing effort for Tampa.

"We just sat back in the third period and let them come in our zone a little too much," Tampa forward Alex Tanguay said. "They got too many shots in the third period and carried the play and got the tying goal. When you have the lead in this league you have to make sure you protect it and tonight we didn't."

The Lightning are playing the second test of a season-high, six-game road trip tonight. Tampa has lost four straight on the road and is 4-7-5 as the visiting club this season.

The Blackhawks will try to bounce back from a close regulation loss their last time out, as they were edged in Buffalo, 2-1, on Friday. It was Chicago's fourth setback in seven games (3-3-1) since rattling off eight straight wins from November 9-25.

Thomas Vanek and Clarke MacArthur each scored to lead the Sabres to the win Friday at HSBC Arena.

Patrick Sharp pumped in his ninth goal of the year for the Blackhawks, who had won three of their previous four contests -- all after regulation. Cristobal Huet stopped 31 shots in defeat.

"We didn't get the job done," said Chicago's Brian Campbell, a former Sabres defenseman. "That's the frustrating part. We had some chances, but have to find a way to finish."

Tonight, the Blackhawks will try to get back in the win column at the start of a five-game homestand, the longest residency for the club this season. Chicago has a superb 12-3-1 record as the host this year and has won nine of 10 in the Windy City.

This evening's tilt marks the first and only scheduled meeting between the Blackhawks and Tampa this season. Chicago recorded a 5-3 road win over the Lightning in 2008-09 and has won four of six in the series. The Bolts have lost six of their last seven games at United Center.

12/13 10:43:16 ET


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