The Lightning, coming off a 4-3 overtime defeat in Toronto on Thursday, get the chance to forget that contest quickly, facing off against Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals here tonight at the Verizon Center. The game starts a stretch of five games in nine nights against the best team's in the NHL, with two games against the Caps and single games against Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Phoenix. The Good news: Tampa Bay plays four straight at home after tonight's contest.
Sophomore sensation Steven Stamkos continues to take the NHL by fire, after tallying his 42nd goal and two points last night in his hometown of Toronto. Stamkos is now just two goals behind Ovechkin and Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead. Additionally, Stamkos and linemate Martin St. Louis both sit amongst the NHL's top five point leaders. Marty has 81 points to place him fourth in the league in scoring and Stamkos' 80 points place him fifth.
With 57 assists this season St. Louis is on pace to set a personal career high for assists in a season and Stamkos has already set a team record for power play goals in a season with 18. When combined with Steve Downie, the threesome has queitly become one of the NHL's most feared line combinations, offering speed, skill and grit everytime they step on the ice.
Hopefully that combination can keep up the good work and lead the Bolts back into the win column tonight in Washington. Although the Insider doesn't know for sure as the Lightning did not have a morning skate today, we believe that Antero Niittymaki will get the start in goal for coach Rick Tocchet's team.
Gametime is 7:00pm and it will be broadcast on Sun Sports and 620wdae.