Oilers try to snap losing streak against visiting Lightning

The Sports Network
1/5/2014 11:35:07 AM
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EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers will try to avoid a fifth straight loss tonight when they host a strong road team in the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning are 2-0 so far on a four-game road trip, giving the club five straight wins as the guest and improving Tampa's away record this season to 11-8-2. The Bolts haven't lost on the road since dropping a 3-0 decision at New Jersey on Dec. 14.

The Oilers, who are last in the Western Conference with 31 points, enter Sunday having lost four straight and 10 of their last 12 games. The club has allowed a total of 18 goals over its last four outings and Edmonton has surrendered five markers in each of its past two trips to the ice.

After losing at San Jose by a 5-1 count on Thursday, the Oilers dropped a 5-2 decision the following night in Anaheim. Ben Lovejoy notched his first career two-goal effort to lead the Ducks, who overcame an early 2-1 deficit to breeze past the Oilers at Honda Center.

Boyd Gordon and Nail Yakupov had first-period goals for Edmonton and Ilya Bryzgalov recorded 32 saves in the loss.

The Oilers led 2-1 after Yakupov recorded his eighth goal of the season with 8:54 left in the opening period. However, Lovejoy scored twice in the final 2:48 of the period to give Anaheim the lead for good.

"It was a little stunning behind the bench. It was great to get that first one and for them to come right back the way they did, it took the wind out of our sails a little bit. It was a bit of a crazy period, back and forth," said Oilers head coach Dallas Eakins.

Edmonton is back home after going 0-2-1 on a recent three-game road trip, but the Oilers have lost three of their last four tilts as the host. Tonight's test marks the start of a three-game homestand for the Oilers, who are just 6-11-2 in front of the home crowd this season.

Tampa won for the seventh time in nine games overall by blanking the Calgary Flames by a 2-0 score on Friday. Ben Bishop stopped 19 shots for his fourth shutout of the season, tying him with Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins for the NHL lead.

Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov scored for the Lightning, and Palat extended his point streak to a career-best five games.

"I feel like every game, my confidence is getting better," Palat said. "Maybe it's because I play with Marty (St. Louis) and Johnny (Tyler Johnson)."

Bishop is expected to get the start on Sunday and he is 2-0 with a 1.00 goals against average in his career against Edmonton. The American netminder helped Tampa beat a visiting Oilers club by a 4-2 score on Nov. 7 and Bishop also notched a shutout in Edmonton on Feb. 25, 2011, when he was a member of the St. Louis Blues.

Tampa has won two straight and six of its last nine meetings with the Oilers, but Edmonton has claimed two in a row and four of the last six encounters in Alberta.

The Lightning are scheduled to close their road trip Tuesday evening in Winnipeg.

Tampa Bay could have defenceman Sami Salo back in the lineup on Sunday after he sat out the last four games due to an upper-body injury. Salo has one goal and six assists in 34 tests for Tampa this season.

Jordan Eberle (Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)


(Photo: Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
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