Skip to main content

Lightning host Flames aiming to boost playoff position

by Jon Lane

FLAMES (31-38-7) at LIGHTNING (42-25-9)


Last 10: Calgary 5-5-0; Tampa Bay 7-1-2

Season series: This is the second of two games between the Calgary Flames and Tampa Bay Lightning. Goalie Ben Bishop stopped all 19 shots he faced in the Lightning's 2-0 win against the Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Jan. 4.

Big story: The Lightning are headed to the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2011 and the second time since 2007. They have their eyes on home-ice advantage in the first round. Tampa Bay is tied with the Montreal Canadiens with 93 points, but sits in second place in the Atlantic Division because it has a game in hand.

''It's just one game, but it's really the 76 games all bottled into one,'' Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said Tuesday after the Lightning clinched a playoff spot with a 3-1 win against the Canadiens. ''What you are really striving for is to win the Stanley Cup, but you cannot win the Cup if you don't get into the playoffs.''

The Lightning continue their six-game homestand against a Flames team playing out the string. A 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday dropped Calgary to 0-2-0 on a five-game road trip.

Team Scope:

Flames: Calgary proved last month it remains a tough out with wins against the Anaheim Ducks, Dallas Stars, San Jose Sharks and New York Rangers. With five games left on their schedule, the Flames know there's still plenty to play for even though they're eliminated from playoff contention.

"This is an evaluation period for everyone," Flames forward Curtis Glencross told the team's website. "We have a lot of pride and obviously were not in the playoffs right now, but at the same time you don't like losing games either, so we're going to play hard right till the end."

Lightning: Tampa Bay's ability to score while shorthanded played a role in its push to the postseason. The Lightning have scored 10 shorthanded goals after having none last season and a combined nine in five seasons from 2008-13. The 10th shorthanded goal of the season was Tyler Johnson's third-period game-winner on Tuesday.

"It can change the course of a game," Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman told the Tampa Bay Times. "It has a real uplifting effect on your team. And having a power play that gets scored on can be demoralizing. In our League, where there are so many one-goal games and close games, a shorthanded goal can be huge."

Who's hot: Flames center Matt Stajan is on a four-game point streak (two goals, two assists) … Lightning center Valtteri Filppula had a 12-game point streak (5-11-16) snapped Tuesday. Center Steven Stamkos has 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in his past 11 games. Forward Ondrej Palat was named the NHL's Rookie of the Month for March with 16 points in 16 games. Bishop has won three of his past four games while allowing two goals or fewer in each.

Injury report: Flames forwards Markus Granlund (upper body) and David Jones (shoulder), and defensemen Ladislav Smid (upper body) and Dennis Wideman (upper body) are out indefinitely. … Lightning defensemen Michael Kostka (concussion) is out indefinitely following a hit from Canadiens defenseman Douglas Murray on Tuesday

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNHL

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.