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Surging Blue Jackets set to host Lightning

by Jon Lane

LIGHTNING (27-14-4) at BLUE JACKETS (21-20-4)


Last 10: Tampa Bay 6-3-1; Columbus 7-3-0

Season Series: The Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets play the second of three games. The Blue Jackets defeated the Lightning 1-0 on Dec. 3, a victory tempered by a leg injury sustained by goalie Sergei Bobrovsky.

Big Story: The Lightning continue to amaze (especially on the road) without Steven Stamkos, who is working his way back from a broken tibia. After going 0-5-2 away from home between Nov. 16 and Dec. 14, Tampa Bay is on a 7-1 run. In their most-recent game Saturday, the Lightning ended the Philadelphia Flyers' 10-game home winning streak.

''When we lost seven in a row, we had some adversity, but we had some guys injured and those were tough buildings to play in,'' Lightning forward Martin St. Louis said.

The Blue Jackets have also been in a rhythm and are making a move in the Metropolitan Division. Columbus has won three straight, are over .500 for the first time since the third game of the season and are three points out of the Eastern Conference's second wild card spot.

''We believe in ourselves in here and we know when we play the way that we can, things will go our way and we've just got to keep focused on that,'' Blue Jackets center Boone Jenner said.

Team Scope:

Lightning: Tampa Bay's 6-3 win in Philadelphia continued a road surge that saw it attain victories at the Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Winnipeg Jets. The win against the Flyers improved the Lightning to 6-7-1 against the Metropolitan Division.

''We have a good thing going on the road lately and we hope to keep it going,'' defenseman Andrej Sustr said.

Blue Jackets: Despite a slow start Saturday in Winnipeg, Columbus was able to minimize the damage trailing only 1-0 after the first period. In the second, the Blue Jackets exploded for four unanswered goals in a span of less than nine minutes en route to a 6-3 win.

''We were willing to do the work, we weren't waiting for our teammate to do the work." Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards said. "I think each guy took it upon themselves, that 'this is what I need to do. I need to skate and work.'"

Who's hot: Valtteri Filppula had a goal and an assist for the Lightning on Saturday to give him 16 points in his past 13 games. Ondrej Palat's eight-game point streak, which ended Saturday, is a franchise rookie record and Tampa Bay's longest this season. Matt Carle had two assists and was a plus-6 against the Flyers … Blue Jackets right win Cam Atkinson has three goals and an assist in his past three games. James Wisniewski had two assists Saturday and is 1-4-5 in his past five. Mark Letestu has three goals in his past four games after going 40 games without one.

Injury report: Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (wrist) could return Monday. Stamkos told repoters over the weekend that the latest X-ray on his broken leg was "really good." Defenseman Sami Salo (lower body) left the game Saturday and is day-to-day. Defensemen Keith Aulie (hand surgery), Brian Lee (knee surgery) and Mattias Ohlund are on injured reserve … The Blue Jackets have four players on IR: forwards Cody Bass (broken thumb), Jared Boll (bruised left foot), Marian Gaborik (broken collarbone) and Jack Skille (upper body).

Follow Jon Lane on Twitter: @JonLaneNHL

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