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Friday’s 7 p.m. contest between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes is the first of three meetings between the two clubs this season. The Bolts have played the ‘Canes the third-most times in franchise history (106), posting a 47-44-10-5 record against the former Southeast Division foe. In 73 games versus Carolina, Martin St. Louis has accumulated 37 goals and 46 assists for 83 points all-time, which is the most against any opponent he has faced in the NHL.
The Big Story:
The Lightning swept the Hurricanes at PNC Arena last season and have not lost in Carolina since November 1, 2011. The ‘Canes look to snap a three-game losing streak Friday evening. They also have not won at home since October 6 and currently have a 1-2-3 record while playing at PNC Arena.
LIGHTNING – The Bolts have come to be known for their resiliency through the majority of their season slate, but that characteristic came to a crashing halt on Tuesday in a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Tampa Bay can credit their dropped decision to a slow start that they were unable to overcome and another repeating theme, not enough shots on net.
Midway through the game, head coach Jon Cooper tried to rally the troops with some words of his own. The discussion seemed to initially work as they outshot the Devils 8-1 through the remainder of the second, but unfortunately enough, it did not carry over into the third period, as the Lightning snapped their three-game road winning streak.
With two days in between contests the Bolts have time to regroup following the loss and prepare for their second set of back-to-backs this season.
HURRICANES – With both starter Cam Ward and backup Anton Khudobin sidelined with injuries, Carolina leans on Justin Peters to man the crease in the meantime, while their number one and two nurse their ailments. The Hurricanes are currently looking at going at least another week without Khudobin, while Ward could miss up to a month.
The injuries to their netminders come along with a host of other injuries to the rest of the ‘Canes’ roster. The setbacks have tested the rest of the lineup’s versatility at varying roles a month into the season.
Carolina has had trouble in the first period, like the Bolts, and have never held the lead (trailed three times, tied once) after 20 minutes of play in all four of their regulation losses. They have also been outscored 9-3 and outshot 118-97 in first periods this season.
Steven Stamkos scored the lone goal for the Lightning on Tuesday, extending his point streak to four straight games. In that stretch he has amassed eight points (four goals, four assists). He was also acknowledged by the NHL as the First Star for the week ending on October 27. The Hurricanes Alexander Semin is currently riding a four-game point streak (one goal, four assists) and has also tallied a point in five of his last six.
LIGHTNING – D Brian Lee (Knee, Out), F Tom Pyatt (Broken Collar Bone, Out); HURRICANES – D Brett Bellemore (Lower Body, Out), Radek Dvorak (Lower Body, Day-to-Day), G Anton Khudobin (Lower Body, Out), D Joni Pitkanen (Broken Heel, Out), F Jeff Skinner (Upper Body, Day-to-Day), G Cam Ward (Lower Body, Out)
Twitter Stat Pack:
The #TBLightning have recorded a 47-44-10-5 record against the @NHLCanes in 106 games.
With a power-play goal in four straight games, the #Bolts currently rank sixth in the @NHL for power-play percentage (24.0%).
Going 3-0-0 at PNC Arena in 2012-13, the #TBLightning have not lost in Carolina’s barn since November of the 2011-12 season.
Martin St. Louis has amassed 83 points all-time vs. the @NHLCanes. It is the most points he’s recorded against any @NHL team.
With 18 points through 12 games, @RealStamkos91 is tied for second in the @NHL for points.
“We have a game plan in place and sometimes it gets a little frustrating when we don’t execute our plan. You can be hard to play against in a bunch of different ways, but if you’re going to get less than 20 shots in a hockey game, that’s not very hard to play against. I know Marty Brodeur is a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, but he could have had a cigarette and a cup of coffee and still won that game and that’s what’s frustrating.” – Head coach Jon Cooper on the Lightning’s lack of shots on net against the Devils
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