|Division Rank||7 Metro||1 Atlantic|
|Conference Rank||11 EC||3 EC|
|Last 10 Games||5-5-0||8-2-0|
|Streak||Won 1||Won 8|
|ES Goals For %||46.7%||54.5%|
|ES Corsi For %||52.5%||52.2%|
|Power Play % (Rank)||17.2% (25)||17.5% (21)|
|Penalty Kill % (Rank)||82.6% (9)||84.0% (6)|
|ES Save %||.915||.932|
|ES Save %||.910||.927|
*Stats from NHL.com and War on Ice
- The Tampa Bay Lightning stumbled a bit early in the season, but the defending Eastern Conference champions are now at the top of the Atlantic division and neck-and-neck with the Rangers for the second spot in the conference. They've won eight games in a row, tying a franchise record that goes back to their 2004 Stanley Cup championship season. Six of those wins have come on the road, including a 4-1 win Thursday over the Senators that wrapped up a four-game road trip, and one of the wins came against the Canes in Raleigh on Feb. 21. That 4-2 decision was the 11th time in the last 13 games the Lightning have emerged victorious against the Canes and the second time this season. Tonight's face-off in Tampa wraps up the season series and the Canes have the chance to play spoiler if they can break the Lightning's win streak.
- Now well off the playoff pace, six points back and out of time, over the next 17 games the Hurricanes will focus their attentions on personnel evaluation. After a gutsy and emotional win Tuesday in New Jersey, the team had a rare break between games that allowed them to get in a couple of spirited practices and a rest day before heading to Tampa. In yesterday's post-practice comments, head coach Bill Peters praised his players for responding in a positive light when challenged to do more. There are no projected changes to tonight's lineup. Peters said that Elias Lindholm will be evaluated at the center position soon but not for tonight's game. He did not confirm a starting goaltender.
- Jay McClement skated with the team yesterday but absent a full contact practice he won't return to the lineup tonight. Justin Faulk remains out as well with a 'week-to-week' timetable for his return, which was not ruled out before the end of the season, but with a ways to go before he will be at 100%.
- The Lightning didn't practice Friday. Steven Stamkos (of course) leads the Lightning in goals (29) and points (52) and has scored a goal in seven of the past eight games. Nikita Kucherov leads in assists (26). Ben Bishop is expected to get the start in net. His 2.06 GAA is the best in the league, and the goaltending duo of Bishop and Andrei Vasilevskiy has allowed a combined eight goals over their last seven games.
Hurricanes (3/5 morning skate)
Joakim Nordstrom - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm
Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Phillip Di Giuseppe
Nathan Gerbe - Riley Nash - Brad Malone
Brock McGinn - Derek Ryan - Chris Terry
Jaccob Slavin - Ron Hainsey
Noah Hanifin - Brett Pesce
Michal Jordan - Ryan Murphy
Injuries and scratches: James Wisniewski (IR ACL), Justin Faulk (lower body), Andrej Nestrasil (fractured vertebra), Jay McClement (lower body)
Lightning (3/3 vs. Senators)
Alex Killorn - Steven Stamkos - Ryan Callahan
Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov
Cedric Paquette - Valtteri Filppula - J.T. Brown
Vladislav Namestnikov - Brian Boyle - Erik Condra
Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman
Matt Carle - Jason Garrison
Nikita Nesterov - Braydon Coburn
Injuries and scratches: Andrej Sustr (undisclosed), Jonathan Marchessault (healthy)
- Canes Gameday Hub [CH.com] and Bill Peters post-practice scrum from 3/4 [CanesPR].
- Lightning ties franchise mark with eighth straight win [TBTimes].
- The Lightning came to life after an air-it-out players meeting following the Winnipeg game [Tampa Tribune].
- Derek Ryan takes an unconventional road to the NHL [CH.com].
- Jeff Skinner is proving to be a franchise cornerstone [Today's SlapShot].
- Joakim Nordstrom is no longer the 'other guy' in the Chicago trade [N&O].
- Rod Brind'Amour joined Adam and Joe Wednesday and talked about the Eric Staal trade and the captaincy, and told the young guys to #getoffmylawn [WRALSportsFan].
- Chris Peters is one of many who feel Justin Faulk will eventually make the Team USA World Cup roster [CBS Sports].
- In ex-Cane news, Kris Versteeg has good things to say about his former team as he prepares to jump in and make an impact with the Kings [LA Kings Insider].
- Intel on the four Canes prospects added at the deadline [CH.com] [Section 328], and zooming in on Aleksi Saarela [Canes and Coffee] and Valentin Zykov [Today's Slapshot].
- Our own Cory Lavalette provides a look-in to how the AHL squad is making do without some of its expected contributors [Hockeys Future].
- Canes prospect Sebastian Aho is soaring to the top [THN].
- Cheaters Never Win trade deadline recap [Section 328].