The red hot Carolina Hurricanes, (15-12-4), bring their four game winning streak to Florida tonight as they take on the Tampa Bay Lightning, (18-10-4), for the first time this year. Under the guidance of new general manager Steve Yzerman and behind the scoring of Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and company, the Bolts are challenging for the top spot in the Southeast Division.
Stamkos was the league leading goal scorer earlier this season and is presently second in the NHL in scoring. St. Louis is ranked third. Obviously, the Canes will need to watch them both very closely tonight.
After his hat trick on Saturday night, Eric Staal is now tied for seventh in the league with 16 goals.
|2010 - Steven Stamkos||32||25||21||46||9||24||11||0||6||122|
|2010 - Martin St. Louis||32||12||28||40||3||8||1||0||2||108|
|2010 - Eric Staal||31||16||17||33||-5||24||6||1||4||123|
Cam Ward will be making his 11th consecutive start and will be facing Dan Ellis across the rink. (Mike Smith was injured at the morning skate and is expected to sit out). If the Lightning have a weakness, it's currently in goal.
|2010 - Cam Ward||27||1533||14||9||65||2.54||884||819||.926||1|
|2010 - Dan Ellis||20||1040||8||5||56||3.23||451||395||.876||2|
Ward has been a demon in net in recent weeks. In his last 12 outings, (since the birth of his son), he has a GAA of 1.75 and a save percentage of .950.
The Hurricanes have now come from behind to win in three consecutive games. They erased a 3-0 deficit in Florida, were losing 2-0 in Atlanta, and most recently 1-0 against Anaheim. The club has still yet to lose a game when leading after two periods, (9-0-0).
Jamie McBain, Joni Pitkanen, and Eric Staal each have points in three straight games. Brandon Sutter has points in two straight.
As we mentioned before, special team production is picking up. After a long drought, the powerplay now has scored in three straight games. The penalty kill is clicking at an 88% rate over the past 47 kills.
Paul Maurice put back together the first line of Jeff Skinner, Erik Cole, and Staal, and they dominated at times against the Ducks. I would expect him to stick with the same lines that were used on Saturday night.
- Staal, Skinner, Cole
- Sutter, Ruutu, Jokinen
- Dwyer, Samsonov, LaRose
- Carter, Boychuk, Bodie
- Gleason, Corvo
- Pitkanen, McBain
- Harrison, White
The Bolts are riding a three game winning streak of their own and they are 5-3-2 in their last 10. The 40 points they have earned in their first 32 games is their best start in franchise history.
For more info about the Lightning, visit our friends, John and Cassie over at Raw Charge.
Our own Curiouscanesfan recently posted a very nice feature comparing some stats of both teams here. Good work and thanks!
There is no local television for this one but it will be on Center Ice starting at 7:30. We'll have our always enlightning open game thread cranked up at 7.