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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning: Game Preview 11-1-13

Welcome to November. The Hurricanes kick off a back-to-back weekend at home tonight against a familiar former Southeast division rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning. The team will be looking sharp in a rare home appearance in their new white jerseys.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport

Carolina Hurricanes vs Tampa Bay Lightning
Friday, November 1, 2013 - 7:00 pm ET
PNC Arena - Raleigh, NC
TV - Fox Sports Carolinas
Radio - 99.9 The Fan

SB Nation Rival Blog: Raw Charge (twitter @RawCharge)

Hurricanes Record: 4-5-3 (11 pts.)
Lightning Record: 8-4-0 (16 pts.)

The Canes have been idle since a Monday night loss at home against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Lightning arrive in town after suffering a 2-1 loss to the Devils in New Jersey Tuesday night. Both teams are playing the front end of a back-to-back series; after tonight the Hurricanes will head to MSG to face the New York Rangers, while the Lightning wrap up a three-game roadie tonight and face the St. Louis Blues at home tomorrow night. The Lightning swept the Hurricanes at PNC Arena last season and haven't lost in the building since exactly two years ago, November 1, 2011.

Hurricanes Notes

  • The previously potent line of Eric Staal/Jiri Tlusty/Alexander Semin has been reunited. Both Staal and Semin are point-per-game players against the Lightning, and Sasha is riding a four-game points streak (with points in five out of the last six games).
  • Manny Malhotra, formerly on a 25-game professional tryout with the Charlotte Checkers, now has a freshly inked two-way deal with the Hurricanes and will join the team for practice this morning. Malhotra will wear number 22 for the Canes (he previously wore #27 with the Vancouver Canucks and was wearing #15 with the Checkers).
  • Jeff Skinner (retroactive to 10/24) and Radek Dvorak (retroactive to 10/25) have been placed on Injured Reserve.
  • Kevin Westgarth is reported to have an upper body injury (suffered in practice Wednesday) and is not expected to play this weekend.
  • Brett Bellemore, placed on Injured Reserve on 10/25, practiced with the team over the last two days and there is a good chance he will be activated for a return tonight.
  • Justin Peters will be in net again tonight, his third straight start. Peters was profiled in a News and Observer feature yesterday from Chip Alexander and is worth a read to see how Peters is preparing for the challenges he faces in net with the injuries to Cam Ward and Anton Khudobin. Speaking of which, Khudobin may be able to start skating again over the weekend or early next week; Cam Ward remains about a month away from a return.
  • The depth chart (and injury report) should be updated after today's morning skate.

Lightning Notes

  • The Lightning are off to a strong start, their 16 points is good enough for second place in the Atlantic Division and third place in the Eastern Conference. Their eight wins in October sets a franchise record.
  • Steven Stamkos (9 goals, 9 assists) arrives in Raleigh red-hot, amassing eight points in the last four games and winning NHL player of the week honors for the week ending October 27.
  • Team captain Martin St. Louis has recorded more points against the Hurricanes than against any other team in the NHL, 83 points in 73 games career-to-date. St. Louis currently ranks second behind Stamkos in goals and points (7 goals, 7 assists).
  • The Lightning are clicking on the man advantage with a power-play goal in each of the last four games and a power-play percentage (24%) good enough to rank sixth league-wide.
  • While the Lightning are clicking on offense, they aren't generating a lot of shots, and they are not getting off to a quick start in the first period (sound familiar?). Two articles from the Tampa Bay Times and Tampa Tribune analyze the need for speed and shots supply coming out of Wednesday's practice here at PNC.
  • Yesterday the Lightning recalled Brett Connolly from the Syracuse Crunch. There are no newly reported injuries and no changes to the line-up at Wednesday's practice (the team did not practice yesterday) so undetermined exactly where Connolly will slot.
  • Reported injuries for the Lightning include defenseman Brian Lee (knee) and forward Tom Pyatt (broken collar bone).

Other Notes and News

  • A rare treat in PNC Arena - the Canes will be sporting their white New Storm jerseys at tonight's game. Visit the Promotions page for other in-game activities.
  • Today begins Movember, a month-long drive to raise funds and awareness of mens' cancers by making questionable facial hair decisions. The Canes have a big contingent participating in this year's campaign, visit the Movember site to support the cause.
  • Manny Malhotra was interviewed on HNIC radio yesterday. Worth the listen (audio, 8 minutes).
  • published the October Monthly Report yesterday and recorded the fourth installment of the Hurricanes Report podcast (preceded Malhotra signing).

We'll have the game thread open at 6:30 pm. See you at the rink.