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Lightning face pivotal match against Sabres tonight

by Lightning Insider / Tampa Bay Lightning

The Lightning get back at it tonight after two consecutive tough losses to Pittsburgh and Phoenix.  There really isn’t any way to sugar-coat the team’s situation right now.  They need points.  Despite dropping their past two contests, the Bolts are only six points back from the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.  So it is there for the taking, but its going to take a winning streak and the team will need to take care of business on the ice starting tonight. 

Antero Niittymaki has held up to his end of the bargain of late, posting a 2.02 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage in his previous three starts.  He has also allowed two goals or less in four of the previous five games.  The problem is Niittymaki has not gotten the offensive support, scoring just one goal in each of the previous two games.  That’s just not going to get the job done.  Todd Fedoruk has been chipping in though, as he enters tonight with a three-game point streak with a goal and three points.  It sounds as though Zenon Konopka may finally be ready to return from his back injury.  No word on whose place he would take in the line up so we’ll just have to wait and see how things play out. 

The Lightning may be catching the Northeast Division-leading Sabres at the right time.  They have gone 0-2-1 in their previous three games and 1-7-3 in their past 11 games on the road.  Olympic MVP and possible NHL MVP Ryan Miller was pulled from his last start after allowing three goals on five shots.  So the points are there for the taking, the Bolts just need to come out tonight with some jump. 

Defenseman David Hale will be signing autographs tonight during the first intermission at the Russian Standard Vodka Bar located on the club level.  Stop by and say hello as he works himself back from his injury. 

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