Lightning (44-24-11) at Sabres (40-29-10) at 7:00 p.m.
The white-hot Lightning invade Buffalo tonight as the Sabres try to hold their head above playoff water. This is the fourth and final meeting between the teams this season. Don’t look now, but the once-struggling Lightning have found their game. They bring a five-game winning streak into tonight’s tilt, while the Sabres have won four of their last five as well.
While the Bolts won the first two games of the season series, the most recent affair is one they would all like to forget. After holding a 3-1 lead in the third period, the Sabres went on to score six goals to come back and win 7-4. It was a complete break down from top to bottom, and this site wasn’t the only one steaming the next morning. That game more than any other made fans and media question the Lightning’s mental toughness, as they rolled over after a bad goal call early in the third. They could recover from the momentum shift.
Now, however, Tampa is a different team. They have proven through gritty wins that they have the mentality needed to win those kinds of games. They have been able to close out games strong lately and holding onto leads. They also have enough belief and fire power to overcome deficits. This could proven to be a deadly combination if this play is kept up.
Dwayne Roloson is expected to get the nod tonight. Someone more questionable, however, is Vinny Lecavalier. Lecavalier was struck in the face by a high stick during the Chicago game on Sunday, and while he thinks he may be ok to come back tonight, he must first see how he feels the rest of today. He has also been fitting a new helmet and visors.
Martin St. Louis has quietly crawled into second in the league in points with 94. He and the rest of the Lightning will have three more games including this one to end the regular season strong and head into the playoffs with momentum.