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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, January 13th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (27-14-4) at Columbus Blue Jackets (21-20-4), 7 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Columbus Blue Jackets take aim at a season-high fourth straight victory on Monday night as they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to Nationwide Arena.
The Blue Jackets come in having won three straight and seven of their last 10, putting them four points out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. They continued their current surge with back-to-back wins over Carolina and Winnipeg this past weekend.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 36 saves in a 3-0 win over the Hurricanes on Friday, then got the night off as Curtis McElhinney supplied 28 stops in a 6-3 road win over the Jets the following night.
Columbus trailed 1-0 after the first period, but Mark Letestu's short-handed tally 36 seconds into the second frame sparked a four-goal period for the Blue Jackets.
Letestu and Boone Jenner both scored twice in the win, while Cam Atkinson and Nick Foligno also scored.
"The first period wasn't the way we wanted to start, but we responded well. McElhinney was making good saves. That short-handed goal at the start of the second period was big," Jenner said.
James Wisniewski and Derek Mackenzie, returning from a three-game suspension, both tallied two assists for Columbus, which last won four in a row during a five-game run from April 9-17 of last season.
Bobrovsky is likely to get the start tonight and would face the Lightning for the second time this season. He stopped all 18 shots he faced in a 1-0 victory on Dec. 3 in Columbus, but exited with 15:47 left in the game with a groin injury that sidelined him for 12 straight contests.
Bobrovsky, who has made two starts since his return, is 1-1-0 with a 4.33 goals against average in four career meetings with Tampa Bay, including three starts.
The Blue Jackets snapped a three-game losing streak to the Lightning and have won three of the last four played in Columbus.
The Lightning enter play two points back of the Boston Bruins for first place in the Atlantic Division and won for the fourth time in six games on Saturday with a 6-3 decision over the hosting Philadelphia Flyers.
In his fourth straight start in place of the injured Ben Bishop (sprained right wrist), Anders Lindback came up with 35 saves.
"He was arguably one of the best players tonight. If you want to win hockey games in this league you've gotta have solid goaltending. Consistent goaltending is what you need," said Lightning head coach John Cooper. "Today, it went his way, and I think we talked about it this morning -- you work hard enough eventually things are gonna turn around and go your way."
Ryan Malone scored twice, while Martin St. Louis netted his 20th goal of the campaign, the 10th time in his career he has reached that mark in a season.
Teddy Purcell, Alex Killorn and Valtteri Filppula each had a goal and an assist, while Matt Carle finished a plus-6 and notched an assist for a sixth straight game.
Tampa Bay did lose defenseman Victor Hedman (upper body) and Sami Salo (lower body) due to injury. Their status for this game is unknown.
It is also unknown if Bishop is ready to return to action or if Lindback will face the Blue Jackets for the first time in his career tonight.
01/13 10:34:56 ET