Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets game preview
COLUMBUS, Ohio — After a short two-game trip to Florida, the Columbus Blue Jackets return home for a Tuesday night game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Nationwide Arena. This is the second meeting in four days for the teams, having last met Friday, a 5-3 Blue Jackets win at Amalie Arena.
The Blue Jackets (11-5-4) earned three of a possible four points on the road trip and currently hold the first wild card playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 26 points. They currently have a 7-3-1 record at home.
"We hung in there, found a way to get a point," Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella told the club’s website. "Five games in seven nights here at 2-1-2…we’ll go home feeling pretty good about ourselves.
"We picked up right where we left off last night with how quick we were playing and how quick we were going north. You always want the extra point, but to grind away here on the road and get one (point) on a back-to-back, we’ll take it."
The Lightning (13-9-1) are third in the Atlantic Division with 27 points and have won seven of the last eight games against Columbus at Nationwide Arena. They are strong away from home, notwithstanding the 4-1 loss at TD Garden on Sunday.
"There (are) so many ebbs and flows," Lightning head coach John Cooper told the team’s website. "The lows aren’t that low in the big picture and the highs aren’t really that high. You’ve got to kind of just stay the course.
"It’s no different than when our goal scorer doesn’t score in 10 and everybody uses the gripping the stick too tight (excuse). Keep going to work and eventually the goal scorers will score and guys that set up guys will set up guys and good goalies will stop pucks. It’s what happens, just got to weather through it."
Tortorella guided the Lightning to its only Stanley Cup Championship in 2004. He was with the Lightning for seven seasons.
Former Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards is an assistant coach to John Cooper in Tampa. In his five seasons with the Blue Jackets, Richards compiled a record of 127-112-21 to become the winningest coach in Blue Jackets history.
Both teams have a potent power play, with the Blue Jackets ranking first in the league and have a 28.3 percent conversion rate. The Lightning rank fourth, converting at 23.5 percent.
The Lightning are without center Steven Stamkos (out four months with a Lateral Meniscus tear in right knee), defenseman Anton Stralman (day-to-day with an upper-body injury) and right winger J.T. Brown (day-to-day with an upper-body injury).
The Blue Jackets are without defenseman Dalton Prout and left winter Matt Calvert (both day-to-day with upper-body injuries).
In net, Sergei Bobrovsky is expected to start for the Blue Jackets, with Ben Bishop likely to start for the Lightning.
The Blue Jackets announced Monday that they traded defenseman Cody Goloubef to the Colorado Avalanche for D Ryan Stanton, with both players reporting to their new respective AHL-affiliated clubs.