Lightning at Flames game preview
TIME: Friday at 9 p.m.
TV: Sun Sports
The Tampa Bay Lightning are in the midst of their most successful road stretch in six years.
They’ll look for a fifth consecutive road victory while trying to hand the Calgary Flames a fourth straight home defeat Friday night.
Valtteri Filppula and Alex Killorn each had a goal and an assist as Tampa Bay (24-12-4) used a three-goal second period Wednesday to open a four-game trip through western and central Canada with a 4-2 victory over Vancouver.
The Lightning own a 16-5 goal advantage during a four-game road winning streak that is the team’s longest since it won six in a row Jan. 8-Feb. 7, 2008. Tampa Bay scored 11 goals and was shut out three times during an 0-5-2 road slide that preceded this current winning stretch away from home.
”We fell behind, got the lead and found a way to hold onto it,” said coach Jon Cooper, whose team is 10-8-2 on the road this season. ”It’s what you have to do if you want any chance to make the playoffs: Find ways to win on the road and hold leads.”
The Lightning were able to avoid a third straight defeat overall and bounce back after they were unable to hold a first-period lead in a 4-3 home loss to the New York Rangers on Sunday.
”We knew we could play better, those two games after Christmas,” said Ben Bishop, who has a 1.24 goals-against average while winning six of seven. ”We didn’t play our best, so we wanted to come out here and play better.”
Filppula has five goals and seven assists in his last eight games after totaling one point in his previous seven. A longtime member of Detroit when it was in the Western Conference, Filppula scored his only goal in 15 career games in Calgary on March 13.
Tampa Bay has won four of six against the Flames (14-20-6) since beating them in seven games to win the 2004 Stanley Cup. The Lightning won 5-4 in overtime at home in the most recent meeting Dec. 15, 2011.
Calgary opened a five-game homestand with a 4-3 shootout victory over St. Louis on Dec. 23, but has been outscored 8-1 in the last three contests. The Flames dropped six in a row at home Oct. 30-Nov. 20.
Sean Monahan’s second-period goal in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to Philadelphia was Calgary’s first in a 159:35 span.
”You certainly feel a little bit better if you’ve been scoring, but, to me, that’s a little bit of a cop-out,” said Flames forward Lee Stempniak, who has been held without a point in 11 straight contests. ”You’ve got to take ownership of it and be ready for the next opportunity that comes.”
Among the NHL’s top rookie scorers with 11 goals, Monahan snapped a six-game point drought Tuesday.
”Putting the puck in the net gives you confidence, and it’s big for me to put the puck in the net,” said Monahan, who has recorded nine of his 17 points against teams from the Eastern Conference. ”That helps the team, but at the end of the day I want to win games.”