Lightning-Blue Jackets Preview

The Tampa Bay Lightning are hoping the turn of the calendar will

help them fix a power-play that was the NHL’s second-worst in


They could get plenty of chances against a Columbus Blue Jackets

team that has spent plenty of time in the penalty box lately.

The Lightning look to end a four-game road slide Tuesday night

when they face the Blue Jackets, who have been victimized numerous

times in the past by Tampa Bay newcomer Valtteri Filppula.

Tampa Bay (16-9-1) is 0-3-1 in its last four on the road and

closed out November with a 3-0 home defeat to Pittsburgh last

Friday. The Lightning converted at 9.1 percent on the power play in

that month to finish ahead of only Dallas’ 7.3 mark.

“I feel like we haven’t scored on the power play and that’s the

main thing,” Filppula told the Lightning’s official website. “We

need to be able to score. The power play, as well as the penalty

kill, are really important.”

Filppula totaled 17 points against the Blue Jackets over the

previous three seasons with Detroit. Only Nashville’s Shea Weber

has more in that span with 19.

Columbus (10-14-3) has been short-handed 13 times in its last

two games, although it has only yielded two power-play goals. The

penalties haven’t helped their cause, as the Blue Jackets were

outshot 36-14 in Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Boston.

“Including myself, I think we took a couple of bad penalties

tonight and it cost us and gave them some momentum,” center Ryan

Johansen said. “And things like that you can’t be doing against

good hockey teams.”

The Blue Jackets will have Brandon Dubinsky back after the

center missed six games due to an injured foot. Dubinsky has 15

points to rank third on the Blue Jackets, who will still be without

stars Marian Gaborik and Nathan Horton.

The Lightning probably don’t have much sympathy since they are

4-4-1 without injured star Steven Stamkos.

“I think we’ve been playing well,” Filppula said. “I think

there’s some things obviously we need to improve. One message was

trying to spend more times in the opponent’s zone. We worked on it

a little bit today and hopefully we can play better tomorrow.”

Martin St. Louis has taken over the team lead in points with 24

in Stamkos’ absence, but he has none in four of his last five

efforts. St. Louis has eight in a six-game streak versus


He will likely take aim at Sergei Bobrovsky, who was rested


Tampa Bay’s Ben Bishop has faced Columbus once while backup

goalie Anders Lindback has never done so.

This figures to be a low-scoring contest since these teams do

not shoot much. Tampa Bay averages 27.9 shots on goal and Columbus

27.1 to rank among the league’s lowest figures.

The Blue Jackets will be looking for offense from Johansen, who

has four goals and two assists over his last four games.