(SportsNetwork.com) – The Tampa Bay Lightning hope that a perfect homestand
can translate into some road success on Saturday night as they shoot for a
rare victory in Columbus over the Blue Jackets.
The Lightning netted 20 goals during a 4-0-0 homestand, capping the residency
with a 5-2 win over the Calgary Flames. It was a special night for forward
Cedric Paquette, who scored his first two NHL goals.
Paquette appeared in his seventh career game as he was recalled from the
American Hockey League on Wednesday following an upper-body injury to Alex
Killorn. He opened the scoring 9:55 into the game and added his second goal
just over a minute into the second frame.
“I knew I was able to score at this level,” Paquette said.
Brian Boyle, Tyler Johnson and Valtteri Filppula also scored and Ben Bishop
made 29 saves in the win, Tampa Bay’s sixth in seven games. It hasn’t won five
straight since March 13-20.
The Lightning will play the second contest of a three-game road trip on Sunday
in Detroit, so it is unknown if Bishop or backup Evgeni Nabokov will start
tonight. Nabokov has excellent career numbers in this matchup, going 20-5-3
with a 1.79 goals against average, .932 save percentage and four shutouts in
Bishop, meanwhile, is 1-1-0 against Columbus with a 1.06 GAA and .951 save
percentage in two games with one start.
Though Tampa Bay has won four of its past six versus the Blue Jackets, it has
only two victories and one tie in eight all-time trips to Columbus.
The Blue Jackets, though, have not been able to win at home or on the road as
of late. They dropped a 3-2 decision in overtime last night to the Carolina
Hurricanes for their seventh loss in a row. Each of the previous six setbacks
had come in regulation.
Carolina got the winner with 38 seconds left in overtime on the power play as
David Savard took a holding penalty. That gave the Hurricanes their seventh
chance on the man advantage in the game.
“We can’t keep doing this to ourselves,” said Blue Jackets head coach Todd
Richards of the penalty. “It’s not a good recipe as far as winning hockey
Scott Hartnell had both goals for the Blue Jackets, while Curtis McElhinney
made 32 saves in the loss.
Another loss for the Blue Jackets tonight would give the club its worst skid
since it began the 2011-12 season 0-7-1.
With No. 1 netminder Sergei Bobrovsky still out with a fractured finger, Anton
Forsberg could make his second career start tonight. He gave up three goals on
29 shots in a loss to New Jersey last Saturday.