Road Game Marks Interim Head Coach Tocchet’s Debut
Tampa Bay heads out of town to face the Carolina Hurricanes Sunday in a Southeast Division battle at the RBC Center in Raleigh.
The one-game road trip will mark the debut of new Lightning Interim Head Coach Rick Tocchet, who took over the team from Barry Melrose Friday afternoon.
Both the Bolts and the Hurricanes are fighting to turn around three game losing streaks, with the Lightning falling to Detroit on Thursday and Carolina losing to the Atlanta Thrashers on Friday night. Currently Tampa Bay, 5-7-4, trails the Hurricanes, 8-7-2, by four points for second place in the Division.
This will be the second meeting between these two teams so far this season. The Hurricanes defeated the Lightning in overtime on October 11th in the St. Pete Times Forum. In that match up, the Lightning jumped out to an early three goal lead before Carolina roared back with four straight scores.
Mark Recchi and Vincent Lecavalier both got goals for Tampa Bay in that contest and Eric Staal scored twice for the Hurricanes, including the game winner in overtime.
Martin St. Louis comes into Sunday’s game with the lead in points for Tampa Bay with 12, including a streak of seven points in the last seven games. Recchi, Lecavalier and Vaclav Prospal each are tied for second, one point behind St. Louis. Lecavalier and Jussi Jokinen are tied for the team lead in goals with six. Mike Smith, expected to be in the net for Tampa Bay, is sporting a save percentage of .929 %, good enough for a tie for sixth place in that category among all NHL goalies.
Carolina is led by veteran forward Ray Whitney with 14 points and Rod Brind’Amour and Tuomo Ruutu share the lead in goals tallied with six.
After today’s game, the Lightning will return to the St. Pete Times Forum for a four game home stand, which will see them host Florida, Nashville, New Jersey and the Rangers.