Ducks-Lightning Preview

BY foxsports • November 20, 2015

After knocking off the team it beat to reach the Stanley Cup Final a season ago, the Tampa Bay Lightning know they will have their hands full with another opponent that nearly played for the Cup.

The Lightning seek consecutive victories for the first time since a 3-0-0 start when they host the improving Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.

Tampa Bay (9-9-3) ended the New York Rangers' nine-game win streak with a 2-1 victory Thursday. That marked those teams' first matchup since the Lightning won in seven games in last season's Eastern Conference finals.

The result was a welcome one for Tampa Bay, which was 3-7-1 in its previous 11 games. Now the Lightning face a Ducks club that fell one game shy of facing them in the summer.

"We can't hang our hat and say, 'We just beat the Rangers,'" coach Jon Cooper said. "Now we've got a team that was one game away, just as the Rangers were, from the Stanley Cup finals last year."

Anaheim (7-9-4) is enjoying a 6-2-2 surge after winning 3-1 at Florida on Thursday. The Ducks' special teams enjoyed a big night with Cam Fowler scoring on the power play and Andrew Cogliano adding a short-handed tally.

Coach Bruce Boudreau's club enjoyed a 41-25 edge in shots to improve to 2-1-0 on this trip. The Ducks held a 40-21 advantage in shots in Tuesday's 3-2 defeat to Nashville.

"The last two games have been really encouraging in terms of the way we played," Boudreau said. "We didn't get the results in Nashville, but to go on the road and put 40 shots on both of those teams was quite impressive."

Frederik Andersen made 24 saves one game after he was pulled for yielding three goals on 10 shots versus the Predators.

''It's important. He's our No. 1 guy and we've got to make sure that he plays,'' Boudreau said. ''We wanted Freddy right back in there and he rewarded us.''

Andersen's counterpart figures to be Ben Bishop, who is 3-0-1 with a 1.47 goals-against average in four career starts against the Ducks. Bishop beat Anaheim twice last season, with Andersen losing once.

Tampa Bay's power play is in the bottom half of the league at 17.2 percent and will be challenged by an Anaheim penalty kill that is a league-best 90.3.

Steven Stamkos had a goal and two assists in the 2014-15 season series, and has nine points in six career matchups.

Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov each had 29 goals a season ago and have combined for eight this season. Johnson's three goals have come in the last seven games while Kucherov is goalless in six straight.

Tampa Bay is averaging 2.3 goals for one of the league's lowest marks.

"I think it just comes down when we get around the net, we have to bear down in putting the puck in," Cooper said.

Ducks star Ryan Getzlaf has just one goal while linemate Corey Perry has scored once in 10 road games. Jakob Silfverberg scored his first goal Thursday into an empty net.

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