WHEN/WHERE: 7; Ice Palace, Tampa.
RADIO: WDAE-AM 1250.
THE LOWDOWN: The Lightning broke a seven-game losing streak Saturday with a 2-2 tie at Boston. Still, the Lightning is winless in eight and has won only once in the past nine games at the Ice Palace (Dec. 29 vs. the Islanders). The Lightning will be without goalie Daren Puppa (groin) and defenseman Drew Bannister (wrist). It was learned Monday that Bannister has six breaks in his right wrist, three more than first thought, and will be out a minimum of eight weeks. Defenseman Kjell Samuelsson is about to return from an injured left hamstring but will be held out of the lineup. Coach Jacques Demers wants to go with the lineup from Saturday. Corey Schwab will start in goal for Tampa Bay. Bill Ranford, in goal against Boston, is expected to play Thursday at Nashville. Defenseman Pavel Kubina has two goals in the four games since his conditioning stint at Cleveland. Buffalo is coming off a 4-0 victory Monday against Florida. The Sabres are 2-3-2 in their past seven games. The Lightning deserved to win the last meeting, but goalie Dominik Hasek shut it down in a 2-0 victory. Hasek, who leads the league in victories (22) and shutouts (8), is expected to start tonight. The Sabres are 2-0 against Tampa Bay this season and lead the series 16-6-2. The Lightning is 1-10-1 all time at home against the Sabres. The lone victory came Jan. 24, 1994, in a game played at Orlando Arena.
_ TOM JONES