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game preview

Oilers at Lightning preview

Tampa Bay can clinch playoff berth; McDavid closing in on Kucherov for most points

by Corey Long / Correspondent

OILERS (31-35-9) at LIGHTNING (48-19-4) 

5 p.m. ET; SUN, SNW, NHL.TV 


The game 

The Tampa Bay Lightning will again try to clinch a Stanley Cup Playoff berth when they play the Edmonton Oilers at Amalie Arena on Sunday. 

The Lightning can clinch a playoff berth with a win in regulation or overtime and either a loss by the Philadelphia Flyers or a loss by the New Jersey Devils in regulation. The Lightning can also clinch with a shootout win and a Flyers loss in regulation.

Tampa Bay, which has lost two in a row, will also try to keep their slim lead in the Atlantic Division. They have 100 points, two more than the Boston Bruins, who defeated the Lightning 3-0 on Saturday.

The game also features a battle for the Art Ross Trophy for the League's leader in points. Tampa Bay forward Nikita Kucherov leads the NHL with 91 points (34 goals, 57 assists); Edmonton center Connor McDavid is tied for second with 89 points (34 goals, 55 assists).

Each team is playing the second half of a back-to-back.  


Players to watch 

Oilers forward Connor McDavid has 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in hispast 14 games. 

Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov has 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in his past 16 games.  


They said it 

"We're all really disappointed with where we are this season but we're not going to roll over and play dead. We plan on playing hard, trying to get better, moving the needle in the right direction. I think we've done that. We haven't won all the time but we have done that on most nights." -- Oilers coach Todd McLellan  

"There's just been a lot of negativity around the team lately. We've just got to swing that and get some positive emotion in here. Have some fun again. I think that's when we play our best, when we make our plays and make the right decisions." -- Lightning center Steven Stamkos


Oilers projected lineup 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Connor McDavid -- Ty Rattie

Milan Lucic -- Ryan Strome -- Jesse Puljujarvi

Drake Caggiula -- Leon Draisaitl -- Anton Slepyshev

Iiro Pakarinen -- Jujhar Khaira -- Zack Kassian

Darnell Nurse -- Adam Larsson

Oscar Klefbom -- Ethan Bear

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Al Montoya

Cam Talbot

Scratched: Yohann Auvitu

Injured: Matt Benning (illness), Kris Russell (lower body), Pontus Aberg (undisclosed)


Lightning projected lineup 

J.T. Miller -- Tyler Johnson -- Nikita Kucherov

Yanni Gourde -- Brayden Point -- Tyler Johnson

Alex Killorn -- Anthony Cirelli-- Adam Erne

Ryan Callahan -- Cedric Paquette -- Chris Kunitz

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Ryan McDonagh -- Dan Girardi

Mikhail Sergachev -- Anton Stralman

Louis Domingue

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Scratched: Andrej Sustr, Braydon Coburn, Slater Koekkoek, Cory Conacher, Peter Budaj 

Injured: Ondrej Palat (lower body) 


Status report

Domingue was recalled from Syracuse of the American Hockey League on Saturday and is expected to start. ...Aberg and Benning did not play Saturday and will game-time decisions. 


Stat pack 

 Stamkos needs two goals to reach 350 in the NHL. ...Nugent-Hopkins has five points (three goals, two assists) in the past four games. ...Miller has nine points (five goals, four assists) in the past eight games. 

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