Game Day Preview: Friday Night Fight Versus Tampa Bay

The Stars are coming off a shootout loss against the Detroit Red Wings, and the Tampa Bay Lightning are playing their first game since a satisfying 5-3 victory over the Boston Bruins, a win that broke a seven-game losing streak. Both teams are in desperate need of a win, but for completely different reasons. The Stars are fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot in the Western Conference, and while the Lightning are all but buried in the Eastern Conference playoff race, every win makes things a little bit brighter for a dark situation in Tampa Bay, who have fallen dramatically since their Eastern Conference Finals appearance last year.

Both teams are in the first game of a back-to-back. Kari Lehtonen is expected to start for the Stars, and Mathieu Garon will get the start over Dwayne Roloson for the Lightning. Roloson, who miraculously backstopped the Lightning to their Eastern Conference Finals appearance last season, has become the de facto back up in a terrible goaltending situation in Tampa Bay. He’s 6-10-2 and has 23 starts and Garon is 12-13-2 in 31 starts. One of the more incredible stats relating to the goaltending in Tampa Bay is that Dwayne Roloson has not won a game since November 17th. The Stars are missing their top two centers, but if they find a way to put enough shots on net, recent history says that the Stars can light up the Lightning, no matter which goalie is in net.

Game Notes:

  • Philip Larsen has been activated off of IR and is ready to go, but will not play tonight. Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro are also out.
  • The Lightning have a 6-16-3  away record, only Anaheim, Columbus, and Carolina have less away wins.
  • The Lightning defense has been crippled with the loss of Victor Hedman and Marc-Andre Bergeron and have to rely on AHL call ups to fill the gaps on the blue line.
  • The game begins at 7:30pm. Watch on FS-SW, listen on 1310 The Ticket, or head down to the AAC and see the game.
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Tags: Dwayne Roloson Jamie Benn Kari Lehtonen Loui Eriksson Martin St. Louis Steven Stamkos

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