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Lightning tries to snap its slump against Calgary Flames

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One more time, the Tampa Bay Lightning will try to stop its fall.

One more time, it tries to get back to being a contender.

The Lightning, who have lost eight of their last nine games and have fallen out of the playoff race, tries to stop their dropoff tonight in Calgary. The Bolts have not had good play from their goaltenders or the defenders in front of them. Starting goaltender Ben Bishop is only 8-10-1, and the Bolts have given up four or more goals in six games on their streak.

It has happened before. A year ago, the Lightning had one losing streak of four straight games and one where it lost four of five. The year before, it had a streak where it lost four of five. In the year before that. It had losing streaks of four games in a row and five in a row.

Still, it hasn’t felt like this for a long time. The Bolts reached the final of the Stanley Cup two years ago, and it reached the Eastern Conference finals last year. This year, in a year in which the team locked up most of its stars to long-term contracts, Tampa Bay has been treading water.

Now comes a three-game swing through Canada, and the Bolts (14-13-1) will be fighting to stay on the proper side of .500.

Game time in Calgary is 9:30 p.m.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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