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Reply To: NHL • Sunday Service Plays • 3/13/16

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Preview: Tampa Bay at Columbus

When: 3:00 PM ET, Sunday, March 13, 2016
Where: Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

The Tampa Bay Lightning have stumbled since breaking the franchise record with a nine-game winning streak, going three games without a victory. The Lightning look to turn things around when they begin a four-game road trip Sunday afternoon against the Columbus Blue Jackets – one of three sub .500 teams they will face on the trek.

“We’re playing like a comfortable team that’s in the playoffs,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper told reporters after a lackluster 3-1 loss at home against Philadelphia on Friday. “And if we are going to play like that, we won’t make it.” The Lightning have managed just three goals while posting a 0-2-1 mark since the streak and captain Steven Stamkos has not registered a point in four contests. Columbus got No. 1 goalie Sergei Bobrovsky back after a two-month absence and dropped a 3-2 decision to Pittsburgh for its third loss in five contests. Cam Atkinson has led the Blue Jackets of late with five goals in five games to take over the team lead in points (44).

TV: 3 p.m. ET, FSN Sun (Tampa Bay), FSN Ohio (Columbus)

ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (39-24-5): Tampa Bay has dropped into third place with its slide, but does meet league-worst Toronto and lottery-bound Arizona later on the trip as it attempts to nail down a playoff spot. Cooper shook up his forward lines a bit, moving Vladislav Namestnikov back with Stamkos and physical right wing Ryan Callahan down to a unit with center Valtteri Filppula and J.T. Brown. Center Brian Boyle became the eighth Lightning player to reach 10 goals with the only tally Friday and defenseman Anton Stralman has nine.

ABOUT THE BLUE JACKETS (28-32-8): Coach John Tortorella told reporters of Bobrovsky’s return, “I’m encouraged by how he played the game. I don’t think we played that well in front of him. But for his first game back, I’m happy about it.” All-Star forward Brandon Saad (41 points) is expected to return to the lineup Sunday after miissing three straight games with an upper-body injury. Veteran forward Scott Hartnell is second on the team behind Atkinson with 43 points and stands one goal shy of 300 for his career.


1. Tampa Bay is a humbling 4-for-52 on the power play over the last 17 games and 0-for-13 the past six.

2. Columbus F Boone Jenner posted two goals and two assists in the last four contests, bringing him without one of his first 40-point campaign.

3. The Lightning have won three straight and five of six against the Blue Jackets, including a 5-2 victory in Tampa Bay on Dec. 26.

PREDICTION: Lightning 4, Blue Jackets 3