The Edmonton Oilers' success on the road has been somewhat unexpected. The Tampa Bay Lightning are having a tough time anticipating what type of effort they'll have at the St. Pete Times Forum.
Though plagued by injuries, the Oilers have a chance to win four straight on the road for the first time in four years as they face the inconsistent Lightning on Wednesday night.
With Nikolai Khabibulin nursing a back injury and Ales Hemsky (shoulder) out for the season, it appeared Edmonton (13-13-4) was on its way to missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season. The Oilers, however, aren't falling out of contention so easily.
Edmonton has won three straight away from Rexall Place for the first time since Nov. 13-Dec. 8, 2006. The Oilers haven't won four in a row since Nov. 14-Dec. 8, 2005.
A win over Tampa Bay (11-10-8) would also give Edmonton four straight wins overall for the first time since starting last season 4-0.
"It's a good night any time you come away with two points," coach Pat Quinn said following a 3-2 shootout win over Florida on Monday night. "We just hope that continues and we find a way to keep improving as a team."
Tampa Bay has dropped five of six, losing 3-0 to Washington on Monday night. The Lightning have been particularly tough to figure out at home.
Tampa Bay has gone 2-3-0 at home after earning points in its first nine there (5-0-4). The Lightning were shut out by the Capitals at the St. Pete Times Forum two days after beating the New York Islanders 4-0 on home ice.
In its previous two home games, Tampa Bay lost 3-0 to Colorado on Nov. 30 after beating the Rangers 5-1 on Nov. 27.
The Lightning have been held to two goals or fewer in four of their last five overall.
Coach Rick Tocchet was not available for the postgame media session, and associate coach Rick Wilson didn't know why Tocchet sat down the players.
"Whether it's offensive opportunities that you're able to muster or just the consistency of your team game, you need everybody on board and you can't have any weak links," Wilson told the Lightning's official Web site.
When asked if Tampa Bay's key players were providing enough production, St. Louis said "No, obviously."
St. Louis, tied with Stamkos for the team lead in points with 30, hasn't scored in his last nine games. Stamkos, who tops Tampa Bay with 17 goals, hasn't scored in five straight.
Lecavalier has been held off the scoresheet in four of his last six games, and Alex Tanguay has not found the back of the net in 11 straight.
Stamkos had a goal in Tampa Bay's only meeting with Edmonton last season, a 5-3 road loss Feb. 24. The Oilers have lost two straight at Tampa since a 3-2 win March 6, 2002.