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Lightning visit Oilers on road winning streak

by Jon Lane

LIGHTNING (25-12-4) vs. OILERS (13-26-5)


Last 10: Tampa Bay 7-2-1; Edmonton 2-6-2

Season series: The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Edmonton Oilers 4-2 on Nov. 7 at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Big story: The Lightning are winning even with Steven Stamkos (broken right tibia) out of the lineup since Nov. 11. Tampa Bay is 13-7-4 without its star center, good for second place in the Atlantic Division at the halfway point of the season.

Nearly as remarkable has been the Lightning's turnaround away from home. From Nov. 16-Dec. 14, Tampa Bay went 0-5-2 on the road while being outscored 27-11 and shut out three times. During their current five-game road winning streak, the Lightning have outscored opponents 18-5.

"If you told us where we are and considering all the injuries we've had, I think we would have paid for that," Lightning forward Martin St. Louis said. "We're working hard and I think we're getting rewarded for all the work we're putting in."

The Oilers are back at Rexall Place after going 0-2-1 on their recent road trip and have lost 10 of 12 games.

Team Scope:

Lightning: Ben Bishop's impressive season continued Friday night. The 6-foot-7 goalie made 19 saves in a 2-0 win against the Calgary Flames, his fourth shutout, tying the Boston Bruins' Tuukka Rask for the NHL lead. Rookie forwards Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov scored for the Lightning, who are 7-1-1 in their past nine games.

''That might have been one of our best games of the year from start to finish,'' Bishop said. ''Seemed like we had the puck most of the game. The big thing [Friday] is we never took our foot off the gas. We played a full 60 minutes.''

Oilers: Goals from Boyd Gordon and Nail Yakupov, and 32 saves by Ilya Bryzgalov weren't enough Friday in the Oilers' 5-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. Edmonton held a 2-1 lead midway through the first period before Anaheim scored the next four goals.

"We have been hanging around in games, but we always seem to find a way to blow a lead,'' Gordon said. ''We can't sit around and hang our heads. We have to find a way to get the job done.''

Who's hot: Bishop has earned at least a point in 10 straight games (8-0-2) and allowed two or fewer goals in eight consecutive starts and 26 of 31. Ondrej Palat's goal and assist Friday extended the forward's point-scoring streak to five games (two goals, four assists). … Oilers forward Taylor Hall is has 11 points in his past eight games; forward David Perron has six in his past six.

Injury report: Stamkos has been skating with full equipment. Lightning defenseman Sami Salo (upper body) has missed the past four games but could be ready Sunday. Defensemen Keith Aulie (broken hand), Brian Lee (knee) and Mattias Ohlund (knee) are on injured reserve … Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle (knee) missed the game Friday. Defensemen Corey Potter (groin) and Philip Larsen (illness) are on injured reserve.


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