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Preview: Flames @ Lightning

by Staff Writer / Calgary Flames

FLAMES (5-10-1) at LIGHTNING (7-8-2)


Season series: The Tampa Bay Lightning swept the Calgary Flames last season. Forward Ondrej Palat scored three minutes into overtime for a 2-1 win in Calgary on Oct. 21. Forward Cedric Paquette scored his first two NHL goals and goaltender Ben Bishop made 29 saves in a 5-2 win in Tampa Bay on Nov. 6.

Flames team scope: Goaltender Karri Ramo will get the start. Defenceman Mark Giordano did not practice Wednesday, but coach Bob Hartley said his captain was taking a recovery day and will be in the lineup. Defenceman Ladislav Smid took Giordano's place alongside TJ Brodie. As Calgary attempts to make up ground in the Western Conference, one step is improving upon a minus-23 goal differential that is worst in the NHL. "It's so important, 'D'-zone coverage, it's not just the two D-men," forward Matt Stajan told the Flames website about the need to play as a five-man unit. The offence has been clicking, with 18 goals in the past five games. Forward Sean Monahan has goals in consecutive games.

Lightning team scope: Forward Ryan Callahan practiced on the top line Wednesday with Steven Stamkos and Valtteri Filppula, while Jonathan Drouin skated with Paquette and J.T. Brown. Forward Mike Blunden was reassigned to Syracuse of the American Hockey League. Tampa Bay is looking to break out of a 2-6-1 stretch that has dropped it to ninth place in the Eastern Conference standings. "It's not time to panic. We believe in this group," defenceman Victor Hedman told The Tampa Bay Times. The Lightning have been limited to one goal or shut out in their past seven defeats, a streak extended Tuesday in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. "It's uncharted territory. So what," associate coach Rick Bowness said. "We've got to deal with it. And we have to deal with it better than we have."

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