The Tampa Bay Lightning managed to get back into the win column in their first game without star forward Steven Stamkos. The Anaheim Ducks, meanwhile, couldn't extend their win streak during captain Ryan Getzlaf's absence.
With Getzlaf potentially out again, the Ducks will attempt to spoil Tampa Bay's brief return home Thursday night in an early showdown of conference leaders.
Stamkos was taken off on a stretcher after fracturing his right tibia in a 3-0 defeat in Boston on Monday and underwent surgery to stabilize the injury the next day, sidelining him indefinitely. His teammates were in Montreal on Tuesday night and pulled out a 2-1 shootout win without one of the league's top scorers.
"It was obviously a tough loss whenever you lose a player like that," said goaltender Ben Bishop, who stopped 28 shots and all three Canadiens shootout attempts. "This is a team sport and we're going to move forward. The guys played great tonight. We could've easily won this game or we could've easily scored more goals."
The Atlantic Division-leading Lightning (13-5-0), whose 26 points lead the Eastern Conference, now face the team that has the most in the NHL in their only home game until Nov. 25. The Ducks (15-4-1), though, are coming off the end to a five-game win streak.
Anaheim also suffered its first regulation loss in 10 games with Tuesday's 3-2 defeat in Florida, the opener to a four-game trip. Getzlaf missed his second straight contest because of an upper-body injury and did not skate with his team at Wednesday's practice in Tampa.
With Getzlaf out, the Ducks couldn't hold on to an early 2-0 lead against the Panthers, and goaltender Frederik Andersen suffered his first loss in seven NHL appearances.
"I don't think we were prepared as a team," defenseman Bryan Allen said. "We didn't play well structurally and together."
The Ducks are facing the Lightning for the first time since their three-game series win streak was snapped with a 3-2 loss in Tampa Bay on Feb. 21, 2012. Stamkos scored the first two goals in that game and assisted on Teddy Purcell's game-winner.
If Getzlaf has to sit out this game, Andrew Cogliano will try to help Anaheim by extending a career-best, four-game goal-scoring streak. Cogliano has six goals in 20 games this season after scoring no more than 13 in any of his past four, but he has one assist in his last three games against Tampa Bay.
Cogliano's scoring binge has done little to provide the Ducks with a more consistent power play. Anaheim has converted 8 of its 71 chances (11.3 percent) this season and gone 0 for 5 in the last two games after scoring in four of six opportunities in the prior two.
"It's just confidence in a game. We have the personnel to make things happen and score goals," defenseman Bryan Allen said. "Sometimes you fight it and you try to look to do too much, or wonder what you can do better. Sometimes, it's just about simplifying things."
The Ducks penalty kill has been considerably steady of late, going 14 for 15 in the last five games, and 4-for-4 in the loss at Florida.
The Lightning have also overcome a stagnant power play - 0 for 19 this month - with a strong penalty kill. They've allowed only two goals the last 43 times they've been short-handed.
Tampa Bay will conclude its upcoming four-game road trip in Anaheim on Nov. 22.
- Sports & Recreation
- Ice Hockey
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Anaheim Ducks
- Ryan Getzlaf
- Steven Stamkos