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Blue Jackets-Lightning Preview

The Tampa Bay Lightning have been one of the best home teams in hockey, and the Columbus Blue Jackets could present a favorable opportunity for the Atlantic Division leaders to continue with that trend.

The Lightning look for a sixth straight home win Saturday night while the Blue Jackets seek better fortunes against elite competition.

Tampa Bay (18-6-3) opened a four-game homestand with Thursday's 5-0 win over Buffalo, completing a home-and-home against the Sabres after a 2-1 shootout loss on Tuesday. Jon Cooper's team outshot a Buffalo squad that had won six of seven by a 35-13 margin, and he said the three-goal second period was about as well as his team has played this season.

"We were just rolling," said Cooper, who got goals from five different skaters.

An overflow of offense has been fairly common at home. At 11-2-1 with a league-best 3.86 goals per game at Amalie Arena, it was a dominant showing Tampa Bay fans are coming to expect.

"It was one of the better (games) we've played this year," said Steven Stamkos, who finished with a goal and two assists.

Ben Bishop earned Tampa Bay's first shutout of the season with little effort. He's unbeaten in five starts with a 1.60 goals-against average as Cooper tries to shift some of his team's focus to the back end.

"As a staff, that was our big thing was we didn't have a shutout this year," Cooper told the team's official website. "... That was the big thing we were really pushing for; we don't need any more goals."

Bishop is 1-1-0 with a 1.06 GAA against Columbus.

The Lightning also have a five-game home winning streak against the Blue Jackets (8-15-2), and they opened the season series with a 7-4 win in Columbus on Nov. 8. Tyler Johnson scored twice for Tampa Bay and enters this matchup with a five-game point streak.

After completing a home-and-home sweep against Florida with Thursday's 4-3 shootout win on the road, the Blue Jackets are in a position to win three straight for the first time this season.

Columbus, though, has just one win over a team that's won half of its games, and that came in the second week of the season at home against Calgary.

The Blue Jackets are conceding an average of 3.25 goals per game in opposing buildings, which ranks near the bottom of the league.

The only area of dominance they showed over the Panthers came from Sergei Bobrovsky, who made a career-high and franchise-record 52 saves and denied all four shootout opportunities.

"He stole this one, without question," said Columbus coach Todd Richards, whose team was outshot 55-20. "He was tremendous in the game. He's the only reason why we got two points."

Bobrovsky has recovered from a personal five-game losing streak with a 3.76 GAA by posting a 1.92 GAA in consecutive wins to begin December. He won both starts against the Lightning last season while stopping 44 of 46 shots.

Offensively, the Blue Jackets likely need to pick it up to hang with the Lightning. They've scored just 13 goals over a 2-5-1 stretch and rank near the bottom of the league with 2.28 goals per game.

Boone Jenner scored in a second straight game after managing just one in his first 12, while Cam Atkinson snapped a seven-game streak without a point with a goal and an assist. Scott Hartnell had an assist to end a 10-game point drought that began immediately after his two-goal effort last month against the Lightning.

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