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Calgary Flames at Tampa Bay Lightning: Can the Lightning keep winning?

With points in seven straight games, the Lightning are still in the playoff hunt.

Calgary Flames v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

Calgary Flames (30-26-4) at Tampa Bay Lightning (27-24-8): GAME# 60

Time: 7:30 pm Eastern Time

Location: Amalie Arena

Broadcast/Streaming: TVAS, SUN, SNW

Opponent SBNation Site: Matchsticks and Gasoline

Preview:

Once more into the breach for the Lightning. Riding a seven-game point streak, Tampa Bay takes on the Calgary Flames tonight at Amalie Arena. Calgary has picked up points in seven of their last nine games to claw their way into the second wild card spot in the Western Conference. The Flames won a wild one on Tuesday, beating the Nashville Predators 6-5 in overtime.

As a team, Calgary is 19th in goals per game at 2.60 per game. They are led on offense by center Mikael Backlund. The ninth-year pro is on pace to have a career season, he’s put up 41 points in 60 games. Johnny Gaudreau, who broke out of a small slump with four assists against Nashville, has 39 points. Rounding out the scoring is rookie Matthew Tkachuk. The sixth-overall pick from last year’s draft has 39 points to go along with his 94 penalty minutes on the season.

As for the Lightning, they are in a precarious position where any loss is a big blow to their chances of making the postseason. If they lose when all the teams ahead of them lose, they fail to take advantage. If they lose when all the teams win, then they lose ground. So they just have to win, and win, and win.

Helping them try to achieve that near-impossibility is a rejuvenated Triplets line. Reunited for the last two games (both wins), the line of Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat have combined for 24 shots, 3 goals and 5 assists. Kucherov, in particular, has stepped up the offensive pressure. After being held to a total of 2 shots in three games, he has 15 in his last two.

With the Johnson line up to their old antics, the Lightning have two legitimate scoring lines for the first time since Steven Stamkos tore up his knee November. Opponents now have to decide if they want to send out their best defenders against Johnson and friends, or against Jonathan Drouin, Brayden Point, and Alex Killorn.

Following tonight’s game, the Lightning will be, for the most part, done with their Western Conference opponents. Eighteen of their final 22 games will be against teams they are battling against for a playoff spot. It’s a shame since their seven-game point streak has come against Western Conference teams.

Health-wise the Lightning are about as good as they could be. Ryan Callahan is likely out for the season, but since he’s only played in 18 games this season, that doesn’t really affect the team that much.

The Lightning will be hosting Pride Night in conjunction with the NHL’s You Can Play initiative. Players from both teams will be using rainbow-colored tape during the game, with some of the sticks being auctioned off following the game.

Historical Facts:

The Flames are 4-6-2 all time during the regular season at Amalie Arena. Without a doubt, their most memorable game in their history was Game 7 of the 2004 Stanley Cup Finals. Lightning fans might remember that one fondly.

Comparison Chart

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat- Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Vlad Namestnikov - Valtteri Filppula - Brian Boyle

Alex Killorn - Brayden Point - Jonathan Drouin?

Gabriel Dumont - Cedric Paquette - JT Brown / Cory Conacher?

Defense Pairings

Jason Garrison - Anton Stralman

Victor Hedman - Jake Dotchin

Braydon Coburn - Andrej Sustr

Goaltenders

Ben Bishop

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Opponent lines

Forward Lines

Matthew Tkachuk - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik

Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Troy Brouwer

Kris Versteeg - Sam Bennett - Alex Chiasson

Lance Bouma - Matt Stajan - Micheal Ferland

Defense Pairings

Mark Giordano - Dougie Hamilton

TJ Brodie - Deryk Engelland

Mark Bartkowski - Michael Stone

Goalies

Brian Elliott

Chad Johnson

Lines will be updated after morning skate based on Erik Condra’s latest travel plans.