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Expect special teams to play a big role when Flames and Lightning meet again Tuesday night

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson /

TAMPA - Bill Peters' recollection of Dec. 20 is spot-on.

When asked about his team's first meeting against the Tampa Bay Lightning, he rattled off an impressive recap of the 5-4 shootout setback.

"We were up 3-1 in the first, had a real good start," he said. "(Michael Frolik) was hurt at the time so (Sam) Bennett played with (Matthew Tkachuk) and (Mikael Backlund) and they were really good as a line. 

"And then Johnny (Gaudreau) cut it up late, I don't remember the goal but I know we were down at one point but we tied it up and went to the shootout. I believe J.T. Miller was the only goal scorer. 

"That's what I remember about the game, it was a good game, two good teams. We were 4-for-4 on the kill, only drew one penalty which was unusual. So we were 0-for-1 and they were 0-for-4, so our penalty-kill was obviously good.

"I look forward to a rematch tomorrow."

The aforementioned penalty-killing is even more impressive when you take into account the Lightning own the league's top powerplay, operating at a scorching 29.1% this season.

With the likes of Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Victor Hedman, and Miller - who have combined for 115 points on the powerplay - it's no surprise Tampa has been red-hot with the man-advantage.

The Flames, meanwhile, are coming off a game in which they put forth some of their best penalty-killing work of the season.

In Vancouver on Saturday, they were a perfect 5-for-5 on the PK and managed to hold off strong pushes from the Canucks to end things both during a late third period powerplay and an opportunity with the man advantage in overtime.

Calgary's powerplay has been one of the NHL's best this season, sitting 9th among all teams at 22.3%, but it faltered in Vancouver. The Flames failed to connect on five opportunities against the Canucks, including a 4:00 double-minor.

"Our entries gave us a hard time against Vancouver so we didn't get set up, we didn't get in the zone and therefore we didn't get any chances," Peters noted. "We worked on entries a little bit here today, not so much in-zone but a good day to work on PP breakouts and the o-zone entry on it - we got some work done there."

Video: "It's always a good time to play good teams."

Specialty teams will be a key component on Tuesday evening, as will Calgary's play in their own zone - another area they touched on in Monday's practice.

"We can't be giving up freebies," Peters stressed. "We've been giving up some goals we're not happy with here recently and we've got tighten up in that regard. Make sure they spend some time defending, too. They want to play up-and-down, they want a little bit of a track meet, we've got to make sure we make them stop in the d-zone."

Noah Hanifin has plenty of experience facing off against the Lightning. He spent the first three years of his career with the Carolina Hurricanes and took on Tampa nine times in that stretch, putting up three points during that run.

"They're a dangerous team, even if you are outplaying them," he said "If they get one or two chances they can score, they're probably up there for the best goal scoring. We've just got to be smart and be patient and let the game come to us.

"It's going to be team effort if we're going to win tomorrow. Everybody needs to contribute and just help each other out. 

"(We need) the forwards buying time for the D because they do come at you fast. They're a hard forechecking team, they work hard, and if they do get you to turn the puck over they can capitalize. It's important for us as d-men to break the puck out well, and for the forwards to help out in the d-zone a little bit."

Tuesday's tilt starts at 5:30 p.m. MT and will be broadcast on Sportsnet West.

Video: "We've just got to be smart and be patient."

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