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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 18th (All times Eastern)

San Jose Sharks (30-12-6) at Tampa Bay Lightning (28-15-5), 2 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Lightning have struggled to string together wins lately, but help could soon be on the way in the form of injured star Steven Stamkos.

However, the club will once again be without Stamkos on Saturday when they host the San Jose Sharks at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Lightning, who are just one point behind Boston for first place in the Atlantic Division, have managed to play well despite being without their sniping centerman since he suffered a broken right tibia on Nov. 11 in Boston. However, Stamkos, a two-time Rocket Richard Trophy winner, participated in his first full team skate on Tuesday and is nearing a return from the injury that required surgery.

There is still no official word on when Stamkos, who has 14 goals and nine assists in 17 games this season, will be able to return to game action but it expects to be before the NHL goes on hiatus for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Stamkos was selected to represent Team Canada at the Winter Games, but right now he is more focused on getting back to help his NHL club.

"I just want to get back out there and help these guys win," said Stamkos."I think we can really do something special this year and I look forward to contributing to that."

Stamkos' team began the month of January with two straight wins, but Tampa has alternated losses and wins since then, going 3-3-1 over the past seven games. The Bolts last played on Thursday when they dropped a 2-1 shootout decision against the visiting New York Islanders. Frans Nielsen scored the winner in the shootout to help the Isles gain the extra point at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Martin St. Louis scored in regulation for the Lightning and Ben Bishop made 29 saves in the losing effort.

"We had our chances to put them away and we didn't", said Bishop. "I thought we played a good game, just came up on the short end against a team that's been pretty hot."

St. Louis has the longest current point streak in the NHL at six games. He has recorded four goals and three assists during the stretch and is leading the Lightning in both goals (21) and helpers (24) this season.

The Lightning are capping a brief two-game homestand on Saturday and are 14-5-3 as the host this season.

The Sharks will try to wrap a three-game road trip with a perfect record today after notching wins at Washington and Florida to begin the swing. San Jose recorded a 2-1 shootout victory in D.C. on Tuesday and then posted a 3-0 win over the Panthers.

Alex Stalock made 24 saves to record his first career shutout in the win over Florida. Joe Pavelski had a goal and an assist for the Sharks, who have won three of their last four. Matt Nieto and Joe Thornton also lit the lamp to help San Jose improve its road record to 14-10-3.

"A win is a win on the road, but a shutout is pretty special too. It will be something I will remember," Stalock said.

It's uncertain if Sharks coach Todd McLellan will play the hot hand and return to Stalock again today or if he decides to go with No. 1 netminder Antti Niemi. Stalock has never faced the Lightning, while Niemi is 3-0-1 with a 2.22 goals against average versus Tampa Bay.

San Jose downed the Lightning by a 5-1 score on Nov. 21 in Northern California and has taken three of four and seven of the past nine meetings in this series. Tampa has claimed two straight encounters in its home arena, however, and the Lightning boast a 5-2-0 record with a tie in the last eight meetings against the Sharks at the Forum.

The Sharks will return to Silicon Valley following today's road tilt and are set to begin a four-game homestand Monday against Calgary.

01/18 10:35:57 ET

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Schedule

Friday, April 18Full Scoreboard
Montreal 4/18 7:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay CNBC, CBC, RDS, FSN-FL
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Montreal leads series, 1-0.
Detroit 4/18 7:30 PM ET
Boston NBCSN, TSN, FSN-DET, NESN
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game One.
Dallas 4/18 10:00 PM ET
Anaheim NBCSN, TSN, FSN-SW
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Anaheim leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
  • NASL: RailHawks vs. Ft. Lauderdale

    Tomorrow at 7:30 am on WRAL-2

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MLB: Atlanta Braves at NY Mets

    Tomorrow at 7:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

    Sunday at 7:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
4th
CHC 0
CIN 0
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
STL
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
TOR
7:08pm Tonight
DET
ANA
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
ATL
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
SEA
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
CWS
8:10pm Tonight
KAN
MIN
8:40pm Tonight
COL
PHI
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
HOU
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
7:00pm Tonight
TAM
MON
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
DET
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
DAL
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR