Third Straight Shutout?
Earlier this month, Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Johan Holmqvist had a six-game losing streak and appeared to be losing his grip on the starting job.
Now, he has two straight shutouts for the first time in his career, and he'll go for a third in a row Tuesday when the Lightning host the Edmonton Oilers.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Tampa Bay -146 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 6 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on Tampa Bay –146 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
Holmqvist entered this season with just one career shutout, and hadn't notched another until last week. He had been struggling, allowing at least three goals in eight consecutive starts and surrendering the bulk of the playing time to 21-year-old Karri Ramo.
However, Holmqvist stopped all 52 shots he faced at Pittsburgh and Ottawa on Friday and Saturday, including a 2-0 win over the Senators on Saturday to extend his run to 121 minutes and 23 seconds without allowing a goal.
"He's played very well the past two games," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "It's not just the saves he's making, it's how he's making them. He looks solid."
The shutouts were also the first two of the season for Tampa Bay (19-24-5), which hasn't shut out three opponents in a row in franchise history.
The Lightning have won four of six overall, but all four victories came on the road. The Lightning haven't won at St. Pete Times Forum since a 2-1 win over Toronto on Dec. 20, getting outscored 20-6 in five losses since, including a 3-0 loss to Colorado last Tuesday.
"I think our team is beginning to play as a team and I think that's the most important thing," Tortorella said. "We were starting to do that before the Colorado game and then we got a backhand slap there. I'm very pleased with the effort."
Edmonton (22-23-5) hasn't visited Tampa Bay since the 2002-03 season, when the Lightning began their current three-game winning streak in the series.
The Oilers are coming off a 4-2 win at Atlanta on Sunday, when they snapped three-game skids both on the road and overall. They're playing their fourth of a five-game trip against all the Southeast Division teams.
Sunday's win was just the second for Edmonton in its last eight road games. Rookie Sam Gagner scored the go-ahead goal late in the second period against the Thrashers. Dustin Penner, Tom Gilbert and Robert Nilsson also scored.
Despite the victory, the Oilers are 14th in the Western Conference, needing to pass six teams to earn a playoff spot.
"Every game is like a playoff game for us right now," Gagner said. "We're fighting for our lives. I think everybody realizes that."
Dwayne Roloson made 29 saves Sunday. Roloson had lost his starting job to Mathieu Garon, but has started two of the last three games, also relieving Garon after he allowed six goals in a 7-2 loss to Carolina on Friday.
Edmonton center Shawn Horcoff has at least one point in seven of his last eight games, totaling five goals and nine assists over that span.
by: Staff Writers - Email Us
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