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At the Rink: Flames at Lightning

by Corey Long /

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning and Calgary Flames each will be looking to end some recent struggles when they play at Amalie Arena on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; SNF, SUN).

Tampa Bay is 2-4-0 at home this season and has lost three straight on home ice. Calgary is 2-5-1 on the road.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper made some changes to the lines during the third period in a 4-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday and kept some of the groups together for practice Wednesday.

Valtteri Filppula will center a line with Steven Stamkos and Ryan Callahan playing on the wings. Stamkos and Filppula had some success on the same line last season in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Jonathan Drouin, who had a strong start to the season, has not scored a point since Oct. 15 and is minus-3 during that stretch. He was moved to a line with Cedric Paquette and J.T. Brown.

Cooper said the Lightning are playing well defensively and the goaltending has been strong, but their record doesn't show it.

"I'm not so concerned about [our defense] as I am that we're not winning games," Cooper said. "Part of that is we've got to score more, and I have no doubt that we're going to at some point. I definitely see a team that should have a better record than what they have."

Flames coach Bob Hartley is also making a lineup change, playing defenseman Ladislav Smid for the first time since Oct. 26. Smid, who will be replacing Deryk Engelland, said he will feel a little nervous stepping on the ice for the first time in three weeks.

"We have a back-to-back," Hartley said. "Smid has practiced very well and he's played well when he's played. Sometimes you get guys out of the lineup because of their performances. Sometimes you get them because of a numbers game. That's where Smid was. I had a good talk with Smid and I told him to keep practicing hard, which he's done. That's why he's in the lineup tonight."

Ben Bishop will start in goal for the Lightning; Karri Ramo goes for Calgary.

The Lightning and Flames announced a trade during the morning skate, Calgary acquiring goalie Kevin Poulin from Tampa Bay for future considerations. Poulin was assigned to Stockton of the American Hockey League.

Here are the projected starters:


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Jiri Hudler

Michael Frolik - Mikael Backlund - Sam Bennett

Joe Colborne - Matt Stajan - David Jones

Micheal Ferland - Derek Grant - Josh Jooris

Mark Giordano - TJ Brodie

Kris Russell - Dougie Hamilton

Ladislav Smid - Dennis Wideman

Karri Ramo

Joni Ortio

Injured:?????????Lance Bouma (broken fibula), Jonas Hiller (lower body)

Scratched: Deryk Engelland, Mason Raymond, Brandon Bollig


Ryan Callahan - Valtteri Filppula - Steven Stamkos

Alex Killorn - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Vladislav Namestnikov - Brian Boyle - Erik Condra

Jonathan Drouin - Cedric Paquette - J.T. Brown

Anton Stralman - Victor Hedman

Braydon Coburn - Jason Garrison

Matthew Carle - Andrej Sustr

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Injured: Ondrej Palat (ankle)

Scratched: Nikita Nesterov

Status report: Bishop had five days off between starts and said he feels refreshed. … Hartley said Engelland has played well and was not being removed for performance reasons. "He understood, he was great," Hartley said. "Everything is good."

Who's hot: Stamkos scored the only goal for the Lightning against the Sabres on Tuesday. … Jones scored two goals for the Flames in a 4-3 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

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