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Game Preview: Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning 4-21-13

The Hurricanes make a quick down-and-back trip to Tampa to wrap up their series against the Lightning tonight. *Note early start time*

Jamie Kellner

Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning
April 21, 2013 - 6:00 pm ET
Tampa Bay Times Forum - Tampa, FL
TV - Fox Sports South Radio - 99.9 The Fan

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

Hurricanes Record: 17-24-3 (37 pts.)
Lightning Record: 17-23-4 (38 pts.)

The Carolina Hurricanes wrap up their season series against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight and will play them for the last time as division rivals. This is also the last game for the Hurricanes against the soon-to-be-defunct Southeast Division, where they posted a 4-12-1 record this season.

Tonight's game is the fifth in this year's series between the two teams, and without going into more of the gory details, the Lightning have won the previous four, three in Raleigh, one in Tampa.

The Hurricanes are coming off a 5-3 home loss last night to the Philadelphia Flyers. The Lightning haven't played since Thursday, a 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Montreal.

Both teams have already been eliminated from the playoffs. An overtime loss separates them in the standings, with the Lightning in 13th place and the Hurricanes in 14th place in the Eastern Conference.

The Hurricanes will break out their black alternate jerseys for tonight's game, a rare occurrence for an away game.

Expect Dan Ellis to get the start against his former team, based on last night's post-game comments from head coach Kirk Muller. Bobby Sanguinetti was listed as a healthy scratch on defense last night and could return to the lineup tonight. If so, the team could either rotate out another defenseman or scratch a forward and go back to 7 defenseman which has been the case of late. Otherwise, team likely to line up as they did last night vs. the Flyers.

Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Alexander Semin
Jeff Skinner - Jordan Staal - Tuomo Ruutu
Chad LaRose - Riley Nash - Patrick Dwyer
Nicolas Blanchard - Tim Wallace - Kevin Westgarth

Tim Gleason - Justin Faulk
Jay Harrison - Joe Corvo
Bobby Sanguinetti - Jamie McBain - Marc-Andre Bergeron

Dan Ellis
Justin Peters

The big news coming out of Tampa today is the return of netminder Anders Lindback, who will start tonight after missing 13 games with a high ankle sprain. Lindback has a 10-7-1 record this season with a .903 save percentage and 2.88 GAA, and has not faced the Hurricanes in the previous four match-ups.

Sami Salo (back) and Tom Pyatt (upper body) are also expected to be back in the line-up.

The Lightning have never swept the Hurricanes in a season and are trying to avoid their sixth-straight consecutive defeat, which would be a season high. The Hurricanes are 1-5 in their third jerseys this season. In other words, book it ;)

We'll have the game thread ready to go at 5:30 pm. See you there.