As the Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames get ready to square off tomorrow night at the St. Pete Times Forum it will be a battle of two struggling teams.
At 14-14-2 on the season the Flames are finally playing .500 hockey. Before their 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators Tuesday night they had won three consecutive games. However, their head coach, Brent Sutter, was said to be on the coaching hot seat after the Flames missed the playoffs last season.
The Lightning, meanwhile, have been stumbling lately. They are 12-16-2 on the season but have lost 7 of their previous 8 games, including 5-4 to the New Jersey Devils Monday night, leaving everyone involved frustrated and searching for answers.
However, each team has a few star players from 2004 still remaining and ready to make an impact. For the Lightning, it’s captain Vincent Lecavalier and defenseman Pavel Kubina. (The Bolts also have Martin St. Louis but he will miss this game after being struck in the face by a Dominic Moore slapshot during morning skate last Thursday in New York City, suffering facial and nasal fractures.) For the Flames, it’s Jarome Iginla and goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff.
Another thing to keep an eye on will be the story of Alex Tanguay (remember him Bolts fans?) against his former team and, most likely, his former linemate Lecavalier.
Also, it still remains to be seen but all indications point to the Lightning starting Mathieu Garon in net after the struggles Dwayne Roloson has had thus far this season.
Anyways, I figure this game will be close and the “X” factors will be which team gets a combination of primary and secondary scoring and, of course, is able to eliminate most of their stupid little penalties.
You can follow Lauren Burg @TBLightning491 and Bolts by the Bay @Boltsbythebay on Twitter.