NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
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
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
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