Tonight, the Tampa Bay Lightning will head to the Scotiabank Saddledome to go head-to-head with the Calgary Flames.
This is the first of only two meetings between these two teams this season.
Other than their record, these two teams are pretty evenly matched. The Lightning are looking to win their fifth straight road game. Unfortunately for the Flames, they are not having the same luck when it comes to defending the Saddledome. They have lost 5 of their last 8 home games.
The Lightning are 24-12-4 at this point in the season. The Flames are sporting a record of 14-20-6. While these two numbers are almost completely reversed, their overall stats are not that different.
|Goals Per Game||2.73||2.33|
|Goals Against Per Game||2.33||3.1|
|Shots on Goal Per Game||29.58||26.68|
|Power Play Goals||23||18|
|Power Play Percentage||16.7%||14.3%|
|Penalty Kill Percentage||82.2%||82%|
The Lightning have a slight advantage in almost all the stats. However, the difference maker tonight may very well be the Special Teams once again. While the Bolts are not exactly near the top of the league when it comes to the Power Play, they are slightly in front of Calgary, whose 14.3% puts them at 27th in the league on the Power Play.
When it comes to scoring, it is left wing Jiri Hudler who is holding down the fort for the Flames. He has 11 goals and 22 assists for a total of 33 points. The 5’9”, 178 pound forward is leading the Flames in both points and assists. It is left wing Mike Cammalleri who is leading the Flames in goals with 12.
On the other side of the ice, it is still the captain, Martin St. Louis, who is holding it down for the Bolts. The Captain has 17 goals and 21 assists for a total of 38 points so far this season to accompany his plus-12 rating.
Hot on the heels of the captain is center Valtteri Filppula. The 6’0, 195 pound Vantaa, Finland native has 15 goals and 17 assists for a total of 32 points so far this season.
Former Lightning goaltender Karri Ramo will get the start in net against his former team tonight. In his 17 appearances so far this season, he has gone 6-6-3 with a GAA of 2.79 and a Save Percentage of .904.
While it is unknown for certain who will be taking the ice for the Lightning, all signs point to “Big” Ben Bishop. As I have always said, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
Bishop has suited up for 30 games so far this season. In that time, he has gone 21-5-3 with a GAA of 1.89 and a Save Percentage of .935.
Wednesday night in Vancouver, the Lightning played an all-around whole team effort. All of the moving pieces were working together as one larger piece. The young guns led the charge as 5 of the Lightning rookies earned points in that encounter.
If the Bolts want to continue their record of road success and earn another 2 points on the road, all they need to do is keep doing what they have been. About the only change that I would make to their current play is to reduce the amount of penalty minutes, which they have slowly been doing over the course of the last few games.
What do you think are the Lightning keys to success tonight? Do you think the Bolts will walk out of Calgary tonight with another two points? Sound off in the comments below and let us know what you think.
The puck drops at 9:00 p.m. EST, and we will be here right with you to accompany you through tonight’s game.