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Reply To: NHL • Friday Service Plays • 1/8/16

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Preview: Tampa Bay at Edmonton

When: 9:00 PM ET, Friday, January 8, 2016
Where: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop has posted numbers that have earned him a spot in the All-Star Game, and his win column would be way more impressive if his teammates could find their elusive scoring touch. The Lightning, who led the league in scoring in 2014-15, sit in the bottom third this season as they visit the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

Bishop has managed only 15 victories in 31 decisions despite a .924 save percentage and 2.06 goals-against average, losing nine times when he allowed two goals or fewer. The Lightning must find their offensive swagger after a 3-1 loss at Calgary on Tuesday that started a four-game road trip and face one of the worst defensive teams in the league, although the Oilers are coming off a shutout. Edmonton defeated Carolina 1-0 in overtime Monday for its second straight victory after a rough 1-6-1 stretch. Tampa Bay will have to deal with the Oilers’ talented top two scorers Taylor Hall (one goal, nine games) and Leon Draisaitl (12-game goal drought), who are due for an offensive surge.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), Sportsnet West (Edmonton)

ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (19-17-4): Captain Steven Stamkos, who was also named to the All-Star Game on Wednesday, scored his team-leading 17th goal for Tampa Bay’s tally against Calgary with 1:39 to go. Nikita Kucherov had his eight-game point streak snapped last time out as his line with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat produced four shots on goal. Right wing Ryan Callahan, who has one goal in his last 26 games, suffered a lower-body injury Tuesday but practiced Thursday and is expected to play.

ABOUT THE OILERS (17-21-3): Connor McDavid, the first-overall pick in the 2015 draft, is closing in on a return from a broken clavicle after beginning to practice with the team earlier this week. Having him back would take some pressure off Hall (team-best 16 goals, 41 points) and Draisaitl (23 assists, 32 points) while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins continues to warm up with five points in five games. Fellow forward Jordan Eberle is also starting to put things together after a slow start with six points (two goals) over the past five contests.


1. Edmonton G Cam Talbot has allowed four goals in his last three games, including his first shutout with the team Monday.

2. Tampa Bay C Valtteri Filppula has registered a goal and four assists during a four-game point streak.

3. The home team has won six straight in the series and the Oilers have been victorious in four consecutive games at Rexall Place.

PREDICTION: Lightning 4, Oilers 3