(SportsNetwork.com) – A pair of clubs riding three-game winning streaks will
try to stay hot on Thursday when the Tampa Bay Lightning welcome the Calgary
Flames to Amalie Arena.
Tampa Bay has not only won three in a row, but also has come out on top in
five of its last six games. The Bolts hope to keep up their winning ways
tonight when they shoot for their fourth win in the last five meetings versus
Tampa has claimed five of seven, seven of 10 and nine of the past 13 matchups
in this series, though the Flames did halt a two-game road skid in this series
when they recorded a 4-1 triumph on April 3 of last season.
Tampa’s last two victories have come via 4-3 regulation victories and the club
is 3-0 on a four-game homestand that ends tonight. The Lightning began the
residency with a 7-3 rout of Arizona before edging both Philadelphia and
The Lightning were tied 3-3 with the Capitals after 40 minutes on Saturday,
but Jason Garrison provided the winning marker by scoring early in the third
Garrison’s go-ahead score came after Steven Stamkos won a faceoff in the
offensive zone. The defenseman sent a slap shot past Braden Holtby at the 2:27
mark of the third period.
Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan also lit the lamp for the
Lightning. Callahan returned to the lineup after missing five games with a
Ben Bishop stopped 35-of-38 shots in the victory, and Lightning head coach Jon
Cooper credited his goaltender with bailing out his club during a lackluster
“We were pretty loose on defense tonight, probably as loose as we’ve been all
season,” Cooper said. “We needed some big saves and we did the most with our
chances on offense.”
Tampa, which begins a three-game road trip Saturday in Columbus, is 5-1-1 as
the home team this season.
The Flames, meanwhile, are 2-0 so far on a five-game road trip and the club is
on its first four-game winning streak since taking four straight from April
3-9 of last season.
Like Tampa, Calgary’s most recent victory came over Washington, as the Flames
notched a 4-3 overtime victory in D.C. Sean Monahan’s goal 4:17 into the extra
session gave Calgary the two-point decision.
Monahan ended a back-and-forth game by beating Holtby from the low left side
off a pass from Josh Jooris that was tipped by a Washington player.
The Flames trailed 3-2 heading into the third period, but Markus Granlund
evened the contest with 5:10 remaining in regulation. Granlund’s goal went off
an opponent’s skate to tie the score and eventually send the game to OT
Lance Bouma and Mark Giordano also scored for Calgary. Jonas Hiller, who also
let in an own-goal during the game, had 31 saves — none better than a pad
stop on Tom Wilson in the final seconds of regulation.
“It was one of the weirdest games that I’ve seen,” said Flames coach Bob
Hartley. “But that’s the beauty of our sport.”
Hiller improved to 6-0-1 in his last seven outings and Calgary moved to 5-1-2
in its last eight. He expects to start again tonight and is 4-3-0 with a 2.51
goals against average in his career versus the Lightning.
Bishop will likely face Hiller despite owning a 1-3-0 record in his career
versus the Flames.