|Division Rank||8th Metro||2nd Atlantic|
|Conference Rank||16th EC||4th EC|
|Streak||Won 1||Won 1|
|Power Play %||17.6%||19.4%|
|Penalty Kill %||83.7%||81.2%|
|ES Goals For %||40.7%||57.2%|
|ES Corsi For %||51.6%||53.6%|
|ES Save Percentage||.914||.915|
|ES Save Percentage||.903||.915|
- The last time the Canes and Lightning met, on December 11th in Tampa, the Canes were 31 seconds away from picking up a point in regulation when Nikita Kucherov scored the game-winning goal, his second of the game, to send the visitors home empty-handed.
- Both teams won their games Tuesday night before heading into the holiday break. Thanks to a hat trick from Tyler Johnson, the Lightning bolted out to a 4-0 lead against a depleted Penguins squad, but had to stave off a late charge for the eventual 4-3 win. Against the Devils, the Canes overcame both an an own-goal and a typical New Jersey trap to tie the game and eventually prevail in the shootout. Chris Terry scored the lone shootout goal, and Anton Khudobin made all the saves to get his first win of the season and the fireman's hat from Cam Ward.
- The Canes arrived in Tampa this morning for a full practice before tonight's game. The big story coming out of practice appears to be Riley Nash centering a line that features Eric Staal on wing along with Nathan Gerbe. Staal moved over to wing at the end of the Devils game and it appears he will at least start there tonight.
- Brendan Woods played in his first NHL game on Tuesday, logging just over six minutes of ice time and with a solid scoring chance that was stopped by Cory Schneider. He was sent back to Charlotte Wednesday and recalled again last night to resume a spot on the fourth line.
- Alexander Semin did not travel with the team to Tampa and has been in and out of the line-up with a mix of upper and lower body injuries over the last month. His agent, Mark Gandler, spoke with Russian magazine SovSport in an article published Wednesday (crux of the interview was around Russian hockey programs and decline of the Russian economy). Gandler was asked a few questions about his client, and Fedor Fedin of Russian Machine Never Breaks was kind to translate them for us (many thanks for his help).
SovSport: What's going on with your client, Alexander Semin? He's having one of his career's worst years.
Mark Gandler: The worst, let's call a spade a spade. Forget about all the Semin rumours. Nothing is wrong with him except for one thing: he's got health problems. He saw doctor on Monday. He was told he shouldn't play for a week.
SS: Did his offseason wrist surgery go wrong?
MG: He's been having wrist problems for the last five years. He couldn't hold out any longer, he would've lost his hand completely otherwise. Recovery doesn't happen quickly. Now he has a new sprain, at another place. He needs to give it some more rest.
SS: It's like a black stripe in life.
MG: It happens. Groin, back problems. One after another it got started. Once he's healthy, it'll all be back at the right place.
- Jordan Staal practiced with the team again today, and was joined by Jiri Tlusty. Andrej Nestrasil traveled with the team and skated after practice wrapped up.
- After a fight left him unable to return to Tuesday night's game, Tim Gleason appears to be suffering no ill effects and appears to be back in the line-up. Brett Bellemore will be the healthy extra on defense.
- Despite an otherwise solid performance, Cam Ward had two bad bounces end up in back of the net behind him agains the Lightning on December 11th. He'll look to avenge the loss, getting the start in net again tonight.
- Congratulations to Nathan Gerbe, who will be playing in his 300th career NHL game tonight.
- Led by a Tyler Johnson hat trick, the line of Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Nikita Kucherov accounted for all four Lightning goals Tuesday night and has been hot of late with a return to health for all three players. Johnson has points in his last five games (5g, 3a) and 11 points in his last 13. Kucherov, who scored both goals against the Canes on December 11, has 10 points (5g, 5a) in six of his last seven games. Palat had three assists in Tuesday's win.
- Johnson actually leads the Lightning with 37 points (13g, 24a), one ahead of Steven Stamkos, who leads the team in scoring with 19 goals (36 points).
- One area where the Lightning has not fired on all cylinders is on the power play, where they have gone 3-for-37 in their last 11 games.
- Ben Bishop missed the last four games with a groin injury but will be back in net tonight. During Bishop's absence, rookie Andrei Vasilevsky started in three of those four games, won his NHL debut, and posted a 2-1-0 record with a .940 save percentage. Vasilevsky was returned to Syracuse Wednesday in anticipation of Bishop's return. Evgeni Nabokov, in net for the win against the Canes on December 11th, will back up Bishop.
- Jason Garrison missed the game Tuesday with an undisclosed ailment and appears to be out for tonight's game as well, despite practicing this morning. Forward Jonathan Drouin did not practice this morning due to illness and will also be out of the line-up (as of yet no indication that's it's mumps).
Hurricanes (from this morning's practice)
Injuries and Scratches: Jordan Staal (IR broken fibula), Andrej Nestrasil (IR upper body), Jiri Tlusty (upper body), Alexander Semin (upper body), Brett Bellemore (healthy)
Injuries and Scratches: Jason Garrison (undisclosed), Jonathan Drouin (illness)