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Lightning entertain Flames down south

If the slumping Tampa Bay Lightning need any motivation for tonight's meeting with the Calgary Flames, there is probably a tape of a certain 2004 celebration lying around somewhere in the St. Pete Times Forum that could provide a bit of a spark.

The Bolts look to avoid their eighth loss in nine games this evening against the team that they beat for their first and only Stanley Cup championship.

Expected to be playoff contenders, the Lightning have gone 1-7-0 in their past eight to fall into fourth place in the Southeast Division. They dropped their second game in a row on Monday, falling 5-4 to visiting New Jersey despite a spirited third-period comeback try led by Steven Stamkos.

Stamkos scored twice in the frame to get Tampa Bay to within a goal, but the struggling club could not muster the equalizer and lost for the fourth time in its past five at home.

Steve Downie and Blair Jones scored in a 1:20 span late in the first period to wash away an early two-goal deficit, but the Devils scored three times in the second.

"We're finding ways to lose games right now. We never quit, but we dug ourselves a hole and it was too big to climb out," said Stamkos, who is among the league leaders with 18 goals.

Dwayne Roloson was pulled after allowing three New Jersey goals on 12 shots. Mathieu Garon made eight saves in relief and is expected to start tonight.

The Lightning were playing a third straight game minus forward Martin St. Louis, who suffered facial and nasal fractures after getting hit in the face by a puck during practice a week ago. He remains out indefinitely.

He'll miss tonight's meeting at the Lightning, who will try to best the Flames for a fourth time in six tries since defeating them in seven games to capture the Cup in 2004. The two clubs have split their past six regular-season meetings in Tampa Bay.

Calgary aims to rebound tonight after getting denied a fourth straight victory with Tuesday's 2-1 defeat in Nashville that opened a four-game road trip. Curtis Glencross scored a game-tying goal in the second period after the Flames were outshot 18-6 in the first, but the Preds' Colin Wilson broke the tie with a power-play tally in the third stanza.

"Obviously the first period killed us," said Glencross. "We weren't ready to play."

Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 43 shots for Calgary, which is 6-2-1 in its last nine games.

The Flames have lost five of their last seven on the road and could be minus Rene Bourque tonight due to flu-like symptoms.