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BLACKHAWKS (6-1-2) at LIGHTNING (5-3-0)
TV: CSN-CH, SUN
Big story: The Blackhawks will look to sweep their brief Sunshine State road trip against the Lightning, who need to bounce back from a 5-0 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday.
Blackhawks: Chicago's start to 2013-14 isn't quite as impressive as last season's, when it went a record 24 games without losing in regulation. The Blackhawks have one regulation loss in nine games and have managed to stay two points back of the Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division.
Chicago will be going for its third straight win after a shootout victory against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, but that win saw the Blackhawks surrender a two-goal lead in the third period. The same thing happened when the Lightning and Blackhawks met earlier this month, so there's some concern despite the team's fast start.
"We're not happy with giving up leads in the third period," said Patrick Sharp, whose shootout goal ended the game. "We'd like to close teams out by scoring in the third period and get out of here."
What could be most troubling for Chicago is that inability to close teams out is starting to become a trend. Three of the Blackhawks' past four games have gone to a shootout.
Lightning: Tampa Bay is nearing the end of what started out as a very successful homestand. The Lightning opened their seven-game stretch with three wins in four games, scoring 19 goals. That hot stretch has pulled Tampa Bay within four points of the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Atlantic Division with two games in hand, but the Lightning were dealt a rough wake-up call when the Bruins shut them out. Boston jumped out to a lead 92 seconds into the game before putting the game away with a three-goal second period.
"This was a little bit of a statement game for us, and I guess it turned out to be a statement game, just not the way we wanted," coach Jon Cooper said afterward. "I felt like we were the old Tampa Bay Lightning. We went back to some poor habits, which led to poor execution, which led to poor play."
Tampa Bay will wrap up its homestand Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres before leaving on a three-game road trip.
Injury report: Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival (illness) has missed three games and is questionable. Defenseman Michael Kostka (lower body) is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. .. Lightning defenseman Brian Lee (knee) is questionable after being activated from long-term injured reserve.
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