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Last 10: Tampa Bay (4-4-2); Carolina (4-3-3)
Season Series: The Southeast Division rivals face off for the second of six meetings on the year. The two clubs previously met earlier in the season to open the year back on Oct. 7, when the Bolts took a 5-1 victory from the Hurricanes at the RBC Center in Raleigh.
The Big Story: Tampa Bay rebounded from a 5-3 defeat at Nashville last Thursday to earn a 1-0 shutout over the Winnipeg Jets in the team’s most recent outing on Saturday night at the St. Pete Times Forum. With 12 points, a win against Carolina would propel the Bolts to the top of the Southeast Division for at least a tie of the division lead pending a Washington Capitals loss in regulation on Tuesday night against the Ducks.
LIGHTNING – Tampa Bay plays one game on the road against Carolina before returning home to take on the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday at the St. Pete Times Forum. The emphasis on defense head coach Guy Boucher had been preaching to his team the day following last week’s 5-3 loss at Nashville finally came to fruition. On Saturday, as the Lightning hosted Hockey Fights Cancer Night, Dwayne Roloson stopped all 28 shots faced and Vincent Lecavalier had the game’s lone goal on the power play as Tampa Bay blanked Winnipeg in a 1-0 shutout. Steven Stamkos had an assist which extended his point streak to six games, but following the game, all attention was turned to Roloson who redeemed himself in his first start since allowing seven goals to the Florida Panthers on Oct. 17 in the home opener.
HURRICANES – Carolina kicks off the first match of a three-game home stand against the Lightning. After stringing together three consecutive victories from Oct. 12-18, the Hurricanes have since lost four of their past five games heading into the matchup with Tampa Bay. The most recent defeat came Saturday in a lopsided 5-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. Former Lightning forward Jussi Jokinen had the only goal of the game for Carolina, but more importantly, it tied the contest in the second period. The Flyers, though, went on to score four unanswered goals to prevent the Hurricanes from taking two points back home with them as the game wrapped up Carolina’s brief one-game road swing. The scarcity of scoring has been prevalent as of late. Saturday night was the fifth consecutive game in which the Hurricanes had scored no more than three goals. That might bode well for the Lightning, however, as Carolina has lit the lamp just nine times, albeit in four games, at home this season.
Who’s Hot: Steven Stamkos comes in riding a six-game point streak with five goals and seven points in that span. Vincent Lecavalier also has scored four goals in his past six games for Tampa Bay. Carolina’s Jussi Jokinen, Jiri Tlusty and Chad LaRose each have a pair of points in each of their past two outings.
Notable Quotable: “It’s gratifying, but at the same time it was a lot of work to get here, and you have to make sure that you keep focusing on and doing the things you need to do to get better and to stay where we are at right now. It’s rewarding, but it’s only one game. I try to forget about how many games we have played and we have a lot left. So you have to forget about it now, go back to work and be ready for the next game.” – Lightning goaltender Dwayne Roloson, following his 1-0 shutout of the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night
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