Vegas Hockey Prediction: Edmonton Oilers vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Thursday, March 22, 2012
The Edmonton Oilers have been a spoiler of late, beating playoff hopefuls Calgary and Nashville during a 3-0-1 stretch. The Oilers now travel to the Sunshine State for a back-to-back, starting with their only meeting against the injury-ravaged Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday.
Edmonton is without 2010 first overall pick Taylor Hall (concussion), but the Lightning are missing eight injured regulars as their playoff hopes fade. Tampa Bay is 1-5-1 in its last seven games.
@ Tampa Bay
When: 7:30 PM ET, Thursday, March 22, 2012
Where: Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Florida
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, Rogers Sportsnet Edmonton, SunSports
Edmonton Oilers (29-36-8): Ales Hemsky had just one goal over 29 games until netting four in the last two, including his first career hat trick Tuesday at Nashville. Sam Gagner, who had gone six games without a point, had a goal and an assist against the Predators in the impressive 6-3 victory. Perhaps the biggest reason for the upturn of late has been the play of Devan Dubnyk. The 25-year old goaltender is 7-3-1 with a .934 save percentage in his last 11 contests. Nikolai Khabibulin, who won a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004, is expected to start against the Lightning.
Tampa Bay Lightning (32-33-7): Tampa Bay’s seven-game home stand has not gone as planned. The Lightning are 1-4 with two games left. They stand nine points out of a playoff spot and two points from the Eastern Conference cellar. Rookie goalie Dustin Tokarski was sent back to the minors and Dwayne Roloson is scheduled to play his 599th career game against the Oilers. Steven Stamkos has a team-high 84 points, but is scoreless in a season-high three games. Aside from captain Vincent Lecavalier, forwards Nate Thompson, Adam Hall and Ryan Shannon missed Monday’s game with injuries.
Edmonton has beaten Tampa Bay three
straight times, including a 4-3 triumph in a shootout last season.
2. Tampa Bay has allowed 13 power-play goals in 13 games.
3. Oilers forward Jordan Eberle continues his strong season with nine points in nine games and a team-high 70 overall.
NHL PREDICTION: Lightning 4, Oilers 3
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