Bolts: The Battle For Second In The Atlantic Tonight

The Lightning will host a pair of games this weekend at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, beginning tonight with a tilt against the Montreal Canadiens…The Lightning enter tonight’s game on a five-game winning streak, while the Canadiens have won three of their past five games…Tampa Bay has posted points in nine of their past 10 games overall, going 7-1-2 with just 19 goals allowed during that stretch…After this weekend, the Bolts will play seven of their next eight games on the road…Tonight’s tilt between the Canadiens and Lightning is the second of four meetings between the two Atlantic Division rivals…The Lightning won the first matchup of the season series, 2-1, in a shootout at the Bell Centre…The Lightning sit two points ahead of the Canadiens in the Atlantic Division for second place, with the Bolts having played one less game than Montreal.

Lightning forwards Martin St. Louis and Valtteri Filppula both enter tonight’s contest on five-game point streaks…St. Louis has tallied three goals and four assists during his point streak which ties his season high at five games…Filppula has notched three goals and five helpers during his point streak, which is one-game shy of his career high set during the 2010-11 season…Each of the past five games between the Canadiens and Lightning have been decided by one-goal dating back to last season…Ben Bishop and Carey Price are two of the Top 10 goaltenders in the NHL for wins, goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts.

The Lightning rank as one of the top home teams in the NHL with an impressive record of 14-3-1 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum…Tampa Bay has picked up points in five straight contests at the Times Forum (4-0-1)…Their 14 wins on home ice rank third in the Eastern Conference and are tied for third in the NHL for that category…The Bolts have only lost four games at home, which ranks second behind Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference for fewest home losses….Tampa Bay’s .882 winning percentage when they net the game’s first goal ranks second in the NHL behind the Penguins (.917)…The Bolts’ nine victories in overtime/shootout rank tied for second (LA Kings) in the NHL behind Washington’s 10.

Ben Bishop made 28 saves on 29 shots on Monday against the Florida Panthers, becoming the second goalie in the league to reach the 20-win plateau…Bishop has won each of his past five starts and has earned the Lightning at least a point in seven straight games…He has been solid for the Lightning this season, registering a record of 20-5-2 in 28 starts…Bishop ranks second (tie-Rask & Niemi) in the league for wins with 20…He ranks fifth (tie-Lack) in the NHL with a 1.93 goals-against average and is fifth with a .935 save percentage…He has allowed more than two goals in a game only five times this season…Bishop has allowed more than two goals only once over his past 11 starts.

Jean-Philippe Cote made his Lightning debut on Dec. 19 against the Predators and recorded his first career NHL point (assist) in the victory…It was Cote’s first NHL game since he skated for the Montreal Canadiens on Feb. 4, 2006, a span of 2,875 days between NHL appearances…The last player to go that long between regular season games was Jonas Andersson who played on Apr. 14, 2002 for Nashville and then didn’t play again until Dec. 8, 2010 for Vancouver (3,160 days or eight years, 238 days).

Tyler Johnson recorded his third game-winning goal of the season on Monday night against Florida…Johnson ranks tied for fifth (tie-multiple players) in the league among rookies for points with 19 and is tied for third (Kreider &Toffoli) with nine goals…He is first among rookie forwards in the NHL averaging 17:55 TOI per game, over a full minute more than Chris Kreider who ranks second in that category…Johnson also ranks second among rookies for faceoffs taken with 542, trailing Florida’s Aleksander Barkov who leads the league with 562.

The Lightning have 13 players on their current roster that have played less than 100 career NHL games, including eight that have played in 50 games or less…The Bolts have three rookies in the Top 20 for NHL rookie scoring (Tyler Johnson, Richard Panik and Ondrej Palat)…Rookie forward Nikita Kucherov posted two assists on Dec. 23 at FLA and registered the game-deciding shootout goal on Dec. 17 at NYI…Radko Gudas ranks first in the NHL among rookies for hits with 130 and is tied for first (Tom Wilson) for rookie penalty minutes with 80.

Martin St. Louis enters tonight’s game on a season-best (tie), five-game point streak, posting three goals and four assists during his streak…He scored his 12th home goal of the season last Saturday night and ranks tied for fourth (Parise) in the NHL in that category… St. Louis recorded his 350th Bolt goal on Dec. 19 vs. NSH…The Lightning captain leads the team for points with 37…St. Louis also ranks sixth in the NHL for average TOI per game among forwards at 21:21.

Source: Tampa Bay Lightning Media