Lightning at Blue Jackets game preview
The Tampa Bay Lightning are thriving on the road while the Columbus Blue Jackets are also playing some of their best hockey.
The Blue Jackets seek a season-high fourth straight win Monday night against a Lightning team that has won seven of eight road games.
Tampa Bay (27-14-4) won 6-3 over Philadelphia on Saturday to continue its strong road play. Ryan Malone scored twice and Matt Carle and B.J. Crombeen each had two assists.
"We have a good thing going on the road lately and we hope to keep it going," defenseman Andrej Sustr said.
The Lightning’s impressive run on the road followed a 0-5-2 stretch away from Tampa Bay.
"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," said winger Martin St. Louis, who scored against the Flyers.
Columbus (21-20-4) can record its first four-game win streak since a five-game run in April that was part of a 8-1-0 surge to close the season.
Boone Jenner and Mark Letestu each scored twice in Saturday’s 6-3 win at Winnipeg. Jenner also had a goal in Friday’s 3-0 victory over Carolina.
"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," Jenner said.
Sergei Bobrovsky figures to be back in goal after he started versus the Hurricanes and Curtis McElhinney got the nod against the Jets.
Both saw action in the Blue Jackets’ 1-0 home victory over the Lightning on Dec. 3. Bobrovsky faced 18 shots before leaving with a groin injury that kept him out for a month.
Coach Todd Richards would like to see his team play better in front of his goalies.
"We’ve got to start playing full games," Richards said. "We’ve relied on our goaltender a few times too many."
Ben Bishop made 20 saves for Tampa Bay in the first meeting, allowing only Nick Foligno’s goal in the second period. Bishop has missed three straight games with a sprained right wrist but could return Monday.
If Bishop doesn’t play, Anders Lindback figures to make his fourth straight start. Lindback has never faced Columbus.
Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman will likely play after he suffered a head injury against the Flyers.
Hedman’s fellow defenseman Carle has totaled eight points in a career-best six-game streak.
St. Louis reached the 20-goal plateau for the 10th time. He had eight points in a six-game run against the Blue Jackets before last month’s meeting.
"You try to prepare the best you can to help the team win and to score 20 goals is something I’m proud of," St. Louis said.
Columbus newcomer Nathan Horton has gone four straight games without a goal after scoring in his club debut Jan. 2 after offseason shoulder surgery. Lightning fans will be wary of Horton, a former Florida winger whose 26 goals against Tampa Bay are his most against any opponent.