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After losing the season opener by a score of 6-3 to the Atlanta Thrashers on Saturday, Tampa Bay is looking to bounce back with its first victory of the season as the Lightning roll into the RBC Center this evening to take on another Southeast division rival in the Carolina Hurricanes.
Tonight's Tampa Bay Lightning game against the Carolina Hurricanes is available to Lightning fans on 620 WDAE radio with Dave Mishkin, voice of the Lightning, providing the play-by-play call.
Fans can also listen to the broadcast feed at www.620wdae.com.
Unfortunately, the game will not be broadcast on television in Tampa Bay or in North Carolina as the VERSUS network maintains a nationally exclusive window on Tuesday nights in the fall.
Every other Lightning game in the month of October will be broadcast locally on either Sun Sports or CW 44.
In a game that possessed what Lightning head coach Rick Tocchet has coined “some really freaky goals”, Saturday’s match-up saw the Bolts ignite a rally late in the second frame on a tip-in from Marty St. Louis that marked Tampa Bay’s first goal of the 2009-10 campaign.
It is an honor bestowed upon the assistant captain for the second time in as many years, as St. Louis connected on an assist from Vinny Lecavalier last season to notch the Bolts’ first tally of 2008-09.
St. Louis also scored on the power play in the final seconds of the middle stanza on Saturday to record his 31st career multi-goal game while Andrej Meszaros, seeing his first regular season action since being sidelined with a shoulder injury in February, upped the Lightning goal count to three with a screamer from the blue line in the third.
Heading into Carolina tonight, the Bolts are looking to fine tune the kind of details they saw fall a bit lax in the season opener. Things like tracking the puck better, not overextending their shifts, and not allowing their opponent the kind of wide open space Atlanta was afforded at times will no doubt be addressed.
Expect Lightning D Lukas Krajicek or David Hale to replace an injured Kurtis Foster who left Saturday’s game with a lower body injury that will keep him out of the lineup an estimated five to seven days. Victor Hedman, who had a team-high 26 minutes, 27 seconds of ice time against the Thrashers, could replace Foster on the point during the man advantage.
In contrast to the Lightning who have registered just one in the loss category thus far this season, Carolina enters Tuesday’s game after enduring a pair of ugly back-to-back defeats.
Friday saw the Hurricanes drop their home opener in a 2-0 loss to Philadelphia, marking the only time in franchise history the team has been shutout in their first game of the regular season.
Adding insult to injury, Carolina failed on all eight power play chances against the Flyers and kept the streak alive through an additional five opportunities with the man advantage in the 7-2 defeat it suffered at the hands of Boston on Saturday.
And though Eric Staal eventually broke through on the power play to score for the Canes in the third, Carolina’s meeting with the Bruins took another unfortunate turn when right wing Erik Cole suffered a fracture to his left leg.
Cole now joins defenseman Joni Pitkanen, who is still recovering from knee surgery, on the Canes walking wounded list and could be replaced by the likes of Tim Conboy or Patrick Dwyer, or a prospect like Zach Boychuk or Drayson Bowman. It should be noted however, that it was Tuomo Ruutu who filled in for Cole on Staal’s wing at Sunday’s practice.
With the messy losses behind them, the Canes will no doubt hit the ice with the kind of aggression that surfaced in the latter half of their game against the Bruins when the team earned 44 penalty minutes and a misconduct penalty to boot. Suffice to say, the squad will be chomping at the bit for a win.
Tampa Bay last met Carolina on March 7. In that meeting, the Bolts were defeated by a margin of 9-3 and Carolina’s win gave the Canes a sweep of their six-game series with the Lightning. All nine of Carolina’s goals came in the first two periods. Staal scored four of the nine; the first time in his career he netted four in one game.
The Lightning return home following tonight’s game to prepare for the home opener against New Jersey on Thursday, October 8.
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