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LIGHTNING (15-10-3) at OILERS (10-12-5)
TV - SUN (HD), SNET-W (HD)
Last 10 -- Tampa Bay 6-3-1; Edmonton 6-2-2
Season series -- This is the only meeting of this season between the two clubs. In the lone matchup last season, the Oilers came to Tampa Bay on Dec. 9 and left with a 3-2 victory. Zack Stortini scored a Gordie Howe hat trick in the win, while Tampa Bay's Martin St Louis had a goal and an assist.
Big story -- The top picks in the 2008 and 2010 Entry Drafts, Steven Stamkos of Tampa Bay and Taylor Hall of Edmonton, will face off for the first time on Friday. Stamkos, who had a great start to his season, has fallen off lately and hasn't scored in six games and has been held without a point for three straight. Hall, meanwhile, is starting to heat up. The rookie has 3 goals in his last three games.
Lightning -- If Tampa Bay follows its alternating win-loss pattern of their last four, the Bolts will be owed a win on Friday. The Lightning lost 4-2 at Calgary on Tuesday, a game Flames led 3-0 before Tampa Bay scored twice before the end of the period to get within one. Johan Harju, called up from the Norfolk Admirals on Dec. 3, scored his first career goal and Ryan Malone scored his eighth of the season.
Dan Ellis finished with 15 saves.
"It's extremely disappointing," coach Guy Boucher said. "To me it's a wasted first period. Even if we do come back, it doesn't excuse our first period and it doesn't make us worthy of winning this game."
Oilers -- Every point counts for a team that's last in the Western Conference, so when the Oilers were down 2-0 to the Ducks they fought back to get that point. Ryan Jones and Dustin Penner scored in the second half of the third period to force overtime. while Edmonton eventually fell, 3-2 in a shootout they put up a valiant effort, going 10 rounds in the shootout before Anaheim would solve Nikolai Khabibulin.
But the Oilers' biggest loss Tuesday was that of captain Shawn Horcoff, who went down with a knee injury in just his second shift. He's expected to miss several weeks.
"You have to find ways to win and overcome adversity," Renney said. "We want points so that we can make the playoffs. You never know what point or points it is going to be so we're going to make this a valuable point"
Who's hot -- Malone has been on fire for the Lightning. The left wing is riding a five-game point streak with three goals and four assists. For the Oilers, Jones has had a goal in each of his last three games.
Injury report -- Lightning captain Vincent Lecavalier (right hand surgery) is still several weeks away from returning to the game, while right wing Steve Downie is out three to four weeks with an ankle injury. …
Besides Horcoff, the Oilers are without Ales Hemsky, who is out indefinitely with a groin injury.
Stat pack -- Tampa Bay has a 4-8-0 record against the Oilers in Edmonton. ...Stamkos had 21 goals and 17 assists during the team's 13-7-2 start, but has just 3 assists in six games since then.
Puck drop -- With injuries to Hemsky and Horcoff, the Oilers have recalled Linus Omark and Ryan O'Marra from the AHL Oklahoma City Barons. O'Marra -- the Islanders' first-rounder in 2005 who came in the Ryan Smyth trade in '07 -- suited up for three games for Edmonton during the 2009-10 season, but is nonetheless excited about the callup.
"It's every guy's dream playing down there to get up here, and everyone's working towards that," O'Marra told the Oilers' website. "When I got the call, I was ecstatic."
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