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Blue Jackets Vs. Lightning NHL Preview: Columbus, Tampa Bay Going In Opposite Directions

For more on the Columbus Blue Jackets, go to The Cannon.

The Columbus Blue Jackets are really struggling, trailing the Central Division-leading Detroit Red Wings by more than 30 points, well and truly out of the playoff picture. The three-game losing skid they're currently on isn't helping things by any stretch of the imagination, dropping their most recent outing to the Nashville Predators 4-1. They'll try and get back in the win column on Tuesday when they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It's going to be a tall order, as the Lightning are playing some of their best hockey of the season, currently on a three-game winning streak, which includes wins over Boston, Dallas and Phoenix. Their offense put up five goals against the Bruins and four goals against the Coyotes. Sure, they're at the bottom of the Southeast Division, but only ten points separate them from the top, so it's much more realistic that they make it back to the top than, say, the Blue Jackets.

Tampa Bay won the first meeting between these two teams this season, a 3-2 victory in Columbus, and this will be the final match between the two on the year. The Lightning were on a seven-game losing streak at the start of the season so, sure, they can easily revert back to that level of play, but it will be very tough for the Blue Jackets to force that, especially on the road.

The game is set for 7:30 p.m. eastern.

For more on the Columbus Blue Jackets, go to The Cannon. You can also head over to SB Nation's main NHL hub at

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.