OILERS (13-13-4) at LIGHTNING (11-10-8)
Last 10 -- Edmonton 5-3-2; Tampa Bay 3-6-1
Season series -- This is the only meeting this season. In 2008-09, the Oilers earned a 5-3 home win on Feb. 24. Defenseman Sheldon Souray scored twice for Edmonton, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Erik Cole, Jason Strudwick and Andrew Cogliano also scored goals, and goaltender Dwayne Roloson earned the victory. Cory Murphy scored twice and Steven Stamkos added a goal for the Lightning.
Big story -- With this contest, the Oilers will broadcast the first live regular-season game on edmontonoilers.com. The puck drops in TampaBay at 5:30 pm MST (7:30 pm EST) with the pre-game show kicking off at 5:15 pm MST (7:15 pm EST). "The Oilers are venturing into new territory with this webcast to give fans even more access to the team," said Allan Watt, VP, Communications & Broadcast. "This game is one of two this season we're unable to broadcast through the traditional mediums; however, we're thrilled to offer a web solution that gives fans a unique, new format to catch the game." The broadcast will be hosted by Gene Principe, with Kevin Quinn and Louie DeBrusk doing play-by-play and color commentary. Both will be tweeting with fans throughout the broadcast via Twitter. Fans can also submit Principe's intermission interview questions for the players and interact with each other in a live chat.
Oilers -- This is the fifth game in a six-game road trip. After a loss against Vancouver to close out November, the Oilers have won three straight, defeating Detroit 4-1 and beating Dallas and Florida 3-2 in shootouts. In each of the shootout wins, Shawn Horcoff scored the game-deciding goal. Backup goalie Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers has earned three consecutive road wins.
"You have to ride these highs as long as you can, you have to get as many points as you can," Horcoff told the Edmonton Journal. "We feel like we've been playing pretty well. If we can string together some games, we feel like we can put ourselves back in the playoff picture."
"We talked about winning four or five in a row. We have to," captain Ethan Moreau added. "It's obvious to everyone that if we don't do well on this road trip we're going to be in a poor position."
Lightning -- This is the final game of a three-game homestand for the Bolts. It began with a 4-0 shutout of the Islanders last Saturday, but on Monday the table was turned on the Lightning, which suffered a 3-0 shutout loss against Washington.
"When you play a top team you have to bring your 'A' game. We probably had a few that were a little bit short and we needed them all," Lightning associate coach Rick Wilson said. "Whether it's offensive opportunities that you're able to muster or just the consistency of your team game, you need everybody on board and you can't have any weak links."
Steven Stamkos, who leads the Lightning with 17 goals, was held without a shot on goal and has not scored in a season-high five games.
"I feel that I'm playing a little better now than I was in some of those stretches when I was getting points," Stamkos told the Tampa Tribune. "I think I've been better lately, my faceoffs are better, I'm making good plays with the puck and I feel pretty good. It's just the points aren't coming. But I feel the hard work is going to get rewarded, so I'm not really worried about it."
Who's hot -- For the Oilers, Robert Nilsson has a goal and 2 assists in his last three games, Patrick O'Sullivan has 2 goals in his last three games, and Ladislav Smid has a goal and 2 assists in his last three games. For the Lightning, Jeff Halpern has 2 goals and an assist in his last four games, Steve Downie has 2 goals and an assist in his last four games, Ryan Malone has a goal and 2 assists in his last four games, and Lecavalier has a goal and 2 assists in his last three games.
Injury report -- For the Oilers, forwards Fernando Pisani (colitis), Marc Pouliot (hernia), Ales Hemsky (shoulder) and Mike Comrie (mononucleosis), goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin (back), and defenseman Denis Grebeshkov (knee) are on injured reserve. For the Lightning, forward Paul Szczechura (upper-body) is day-to-day.
Stat pack -- Forward Dustin Penner leads the Oilers with 31 points (16 goals, 15 assists) in 30 games. However he has points in only 16 games (52 percent). The Winkler, Man., native has 10 multi-point games. Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky is third on the team in scoring with 22 points (7 goals, 15 assists) in 28 games. Visnovsky has recorded points in 16 games (55 percent), with five multi-point games. … Tampa Bay's Ryan Malone and Stamkos have combined for 33 goals this season, second-most among NHL teammates, trailing only Dany Heatley and Patrick Marleau (38) of San Jose.
Puck drop -- "Without (Ales Hemsky) and (Nikolai Khabibulin), everybody thought we were done. But I think we're a team full of fighters and we're going to fight for a spot in the playoffs." -- Smid to the Edmonton Sun.
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