(SportsNetwork.com) - A pair of teams leading their respective conferences in points will meet Thursday in Tampa, as the Lightning welcome the Anaheim Ducks for a showdown at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Ducks lead the NHL and the Western Conference with 31 points, while the Lightning, who recently lost superstar centerman Steven Stamkos to a broken leg, are pacing the East with 26 points.
Stamkos suffered a broken right tibia in the second period of Monday's 3-0 loss in Boston and underwent surgery on Tuesday. There is no specific timetable for the sniper's return, but Stamkos is likely to miss months of action.
Despite losing their leading goal scorer (14) and point producer (23) for this season, the Lightning managed to win in Montreal the day after Stamkos' injury. Valtteri Filppula scored the only goal of the shootout as Tampa Bay claimed a 2-1 win over the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
Filppula scored on Tampa's first chance as he deked back to the forehand and lifted a shot high to the left side past Carey Price. Ben Bishop then stopped a Danny Briere chance before stopping a Brendan Gallagher shot for the win.
"It was tough to lose a player like Stamkos, but it's a team sport," said Bishop. "We're going to have to move forward. The guys played great tonight. We could have scored more, but their goalie played a great game."
It was the fifth win in six games for the Lightning, who received 28 stops from Bishop through regulation and overtime. Ryan Malone also scored in the first period for Tampa.
The Bolts are 7-2-0 on home ice this season, but will embark on a four-game road trip after tonight's contest. Tampa is scheduled to visit Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Jose before completing the swing in Anaheim on Nov. 22.
Anaheim has taken six of the last eight meetings with the Lightning overall and has six wins in the past nine encounters in Central Florida.
The Ducks, who are a perfect 8-0 on home ice this season, opened a four-game road trip with a regulation loss at Florida on Tuesday. The setback dropped Anaheim's road record to 7-4-1 and halted the club's point streak at nine games (8-0-1).
Brad Boyes netted the game-winner 4:29 into the third period, as the Panthers potted three unanswered goals to shock the Ducks at BB&T Center. Anaheim led Florida by a 2-0 score after 20 minutes before rallying for just its fourth win of the season.
Andrew Cogliano and Hampus Lindholm each lit the lamp once for the Ducks, while rookie netminder Frederik Andersen suffered his first career loss. Andersen entered the game undefeated in six starts this season, but gave up all three goals on 25 shots to fall to 6-1-0 in his young career.
"We took it for granted that we were going to beat them," Andersen admitted. "They caught up with us in the second period."
Jonas Hiller is dealing with an illness but could get the start on Thursday. He is 3-2-0 with a 2.55 goals against average in five career outings versus the Lightning.
The Ducks played the last two games without top centerman Ryan Getzlaf, who is battling an upper-body injury. Getzlaf, who is leading Anaheim with 22 points this season, is expected to sit out a third straight contest tonight. Fellow forward Kyle Palmieri is questionable for Thursday after missing Tuesday's game with an illness.