EDMONTON OILERS (22-23-5) at
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING (19-24-5)
5:38 p.m. MST
Molson Canadian Oilers Pay Per View (Broadcast begins 5:15 p.m.)
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game Notes | Oilers/Lightning Stats Comparison | Player Head-to-Head Statistics
The Edmonton Oilers can move back to the .500 mark in the standings and over the .500 mark on their four-game road trip with a win tonight over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
After opening the trip with a shootout loss and regulation loss, the Oilers bounced back to defeat the Atlanta Thrashers on Sunday in a convincing 4-2 win.
Edmonton is now six points out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with Vancouver now the target. A win tonight could move the Oilers within a point of 9th place as well which helps them gain a foothold on that logjam.
Tampa Bay has had a difficult season that sees them currently in last place in the Eastern Conference, nine points out of a playoff spot. They started the season at a decent clip and were 10-8-1 in mid-November but a stretch late that month that saw them go 0-5-1 plus another stretch at the end of December that saw them go 2-9-3 has rendered them on the outside looking in.
In recent games, the team has done better, with wins of 3-0 and 2-0 this past Friday and Saturday against two very difficult opponents - Pittsburgh and Ottawa. The Lightning will try and win their third straight tonight for the first time since December 1-6.
Edmonton has not played a game in Tampa Bay since December 5, 2002 when the Lightning won 3-2.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATE (11:53 AM):
Joni Pitkanen returns to the lineup, replacing Dick Tarnstrom... Dwayne Roloson gets the start tonight for the second straight game.
OILERS TO WATCH:
Robert Nilsson has put up some impressive numbers for the Oilers on the road this season. In 20 games away from home, he has 16 points (3 goals, 13 assists) and a +3 rating despite averaging only 14:02 of icetime in those games. Nilsson has picked up a point in each game on this road trip, scoring a goal and an assist Sunday against Atlanta. Nilsson has only six points in 20 home games... Sam Gagner
and Andrew Cogliano
have both done well since being teamed up with Nilsson. Gagner had a goal last game and two assists the game before in Carolina. Cogliano also has a goal and two assists in his last two games... Dustin Penner
has only played one game against the Lightning but it was a good one. Back on December 9, 2006 he scored two goals to lead the Anaheim Ducks to a 4-3 win over Tampa Bay. It was the first multiple-goal game of Penner's career.
LIGHTNING TO WATCH:
Lightning goaltender Johan Holmqvist was voted the NHL's second star last week after registering two consecutive shutouts. He has not allowed a goal in his last 121:29 of play. Holmqvist has a 16-13-4 record on the sub-.500 Lightning... Vincent Lecavalier is enjoying another solid season despite his team's struggles. He leads the entire NHL in scoring with 64 points in 48 games and is fourth in goals with 29... Fellow all-star Martin St. Louis is tied for 12th in the league with 55 points in 48 games. Both Lecavalaier and St. Louis are above the break-even point in plus/minus at +3 and +2 respectively... Their teammate and 2004 Conn Smythe Trophy Winner Brad Richards has had his struggles in that department at -23 this season. Richards has 13 goals and 40 points this season but does have five points in his last five games including a two-goal performance Jan. 12 in Florida.
Edmonton – Joni Pitkanen (groin) is probable. Geoff Sanderson (back) is out. Raffi Torres (knee) is out; Tampa Bay – Dan Boyle (wrist) is out. Ryan Craig (knee) is out. Michel Oullet (shoulder) is out.
Edmonton's power play has continued to perform well with goals in eight of the team's last 10 games. During that time, it has climbed from 30th to 27th in the NHL. On the road, the power play is now 21st... Tampa's penalty killing is ranked 20th in the NHL at 80.9%... Lightning head coach John Tortorella will match Herb Brooks for games coached by an American in the NHL tonight with his 506th game... Tampa is tied for the second fewest number of losses when leading after one period. They are 11-1-2 when leading their opponent after 20 minutes... No player on either team has ever recorded a hat trick in a game involving the Oilers and Lightning.
The Other Side
- The Gameday Charge with Rick Peckham - Get all the up to date information on tonight's game with Lightning Play by Play announcer Rick Peckham in this edition of the GameDay Charge. The GameDay Charge is brought to you by Jeep. ...more
- Bolts Begin Five-Game Homestand - TAMPA, Fla. – Riding a pair of back-to-back shutouts the Tampa Bay Lightning return to their home ice on Tuesday, January 22 (7:30p.m., ION, 620 WDAE) to kick off a five-game home stand. In the lone meeting against the Edmonton Oilers ... ...more
- Lightning Insider - January 21 - Let tampabaylightning.com become your destination for all the latest Lightning scoops. The Lightning Insider will be in the stands, in the locker room and on the road with the team throughout the 2007-08 season to provide you with... ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- New Oilers wallpapers available! - Oilers wallpaper featuring Fernando Pisani, Ethan Moreau, Joni Pitkanen, Dustin Penner and Mathieu Garon are now available. Follow the link to download it today. ...more
- Oilers Photo Blog brought to you by Bell - In this edition of the Edmonton Oilers Photo Blog brought to you by Bell, Morley Scott sends photos from Minnesota, Columbus, St. Louis, Washington and even some shots from a snowstorm the team ran into in Atlanta! Launch Gallery ...more
From the Wire
Earlier this month, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist had a six-game losing streak and appeared to be losing his grip on the starting job.
Now, he has two straight shutouts for the first time in his career, and he'll go for a third in a row Tuesday when the Lightning host the Edmonton Oilers.
Holmqvist entered this season with just one career shutout, and hadn't notched another until last week. He had been struggling, allowing at least three goals in eight consecutive starts and surrendering the bulk of the playing time to 21-year-old Karri Ramo.
However, Holmqvist stopped all 52 shots he faced at Pittsburgh and Ottawa on Friday and Saturday, including a 2-0 win over the Senators on Saturday to extend his run to 121 minutes and 23 seconds without allowing a goal.
"He's played very well the past two games," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "It's not just the saves he's making, it's how he's making them. He looks solid."
The shutouts were also the first two of the season for Tampa Bay (19-24-5), which hasn't shut out three opponents in a row in franchise history.
The Lightning have won four of six overall, but all four victories came on the road. The Lightning haven't won at St. Pete Times Forum since a 2-1 win over Toronto on Dec. 20, getting outscored 20-6 in five losses since, including a 3-0 loss to Colorado last Tuesday.
"I think our team is beginning to play as a team and I think that's the most important thing," Tortorella said. "We were starting to do that before the Colorado game and then we got a backhand slap there. I'm very pleased with the effort."
Edmonton (22-23-5) hasn't visited Tampa Bay since the 2002-03 season, when the Lightning began their current three-game winning streak in the series.
The Oilers are coming off a 4-2 win at Atlanta on Sunday, when they snapped three-game skids both on the road and overall. They're playing their fourth of a five-game trip against all the Southeast Division teams.
Sunday's win was just the second for Edmonton in its last eight road games. Rookie Sam Gagner scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period against the Thrashers. Dustin Penner, Tom Gilbert and Robert Nilsson also scored.
Despite the victory, the Oilers are 14th in the Western Conference, needing to pass six teams to earn a playoff spot.
"Every game is like a playoff game for us right now," Gagner said. "We're fighting for our lives. I think everybody realizes that."
Dwayne Roloson made 29 saves Sunday. Roloson had lost his starting job to Mathieu Garon, but has started two of the last three games, also relieving Garon after he allowed six goals in a 7-2 loss to Carolina on Friday.
Edmonton center Shawn Horcoff has at least one point in seven of his last eight games, totaling five goals and nine assists over that span.