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Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning series finale game preview, lineups and game discussion

The Hurricanes and Lightning will conclude their season series with two big points on the line tonight.

Carolina Hurricanes v Tampa Bay Lightning Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Following last night’s back-and-forth, at times chippy affair that ended in a 3-2 overtime win for the Bolts, the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning will wrap up their season series tonight with two big points on the line. The Hurricanes enter tonight’s action in first place in the Central Division, tied with the Florida Panthers with two games in hand and a point up on Tampa Bay with one game in hand.

The Hurricanes come into tonight’s matchup 3-3-1 on the season against Tampa Bay and could win the season series by a point with a regulation victory.

Let’s take a look at how these two teams match up:

Vital Statistics

Category Hurricanes Bruins
Category Hurricanes Bruins
Record 54-20-8 51-26-5
Goals/Game 3.38 3.08
Goals Against/Game 2.44 2.66
Shots/Game 34.12 36.12
Face Off Win % 53.9% 54.2%
Power Play % (Rank) 22.0% (13th) 21.2% (15th)
Penalty Kill % (Rank) 88.0% (1st) 81.3% (9th)
ES Corsi For % 43.86% 56.14%
ES PDO 113.44 86.56
PIM/Game 12:00 22:00

Goaltender #1

Category Frederik Andersen Linus Ullmark
Category Frederik Andersen Linus Ullmark
Record 35-14-3 26-10-2
Save % .922 .917
GAA 2.17 2.45

Goaltender #2

Category Alex Nedeljkovic Chris Driedger
Category Alex Nedeljkovic Chris Driedger
Record 12-4-2 12-5-3
Save % .933 .927
GAA 1.87 2.09

Goaltender #3

Category James Reimer Kasimir Kaskisuo
Category James Reimer Kasimir Kaskisuo
Record 15-5-2 0-0-0
Save % .906 .000
GAA 2.66 0.00

Game Notes

  • Last night’s game got a bit chippy, with Martin Necas taking a questionable hit from Alex Killorn that required a brief trip to the locker room, and Jake Gardiner immediately dropping the gloves with Killorn. In a high stakes game eight between these two teams, more fireworks are certainly possible.
  • Tonight’s starter in net, Alex Nedeljkovic, notched his first career shutout against the Lightning with 24 saves on Feb. 20. From the start of that game to today, he’s 9-3-1 with a .941 save percentage, 1.61 goals-against average and three shutouts.
  • Andrei Svechnikov is heating up at the right time. After snapping a seven-game goal drought in last Thursday’s win over Nashville, he now has goals in three straight games.
  • Dougie Hamilton has also begun a new point streak, with assists in three straight games

Projected lineups

While Rod Brind’Amour said there could be some game-time decisions for tonight’s game, the plan is not to change the lineup from Monday night. The one exception to that will be Nedeljkovic making the start between the pipes, looking to continue his impressive run. In his last two starts, Nedeljkovic has a 24-save shutout over Florida and 27 saves on 28 shots in a win over Nashville.

Here’s how the Hurricanes are expected to line up for this one:

Andrei Svechnikov - Sebastian Aho - Jesper Fast
Jordan Martinook - Vincent Trocheck - Martin Necas
Nino Niederreiter - Jordan Staal - Warren Foegele
Cedric Paquette - Steven Lorentz - Morgan Geekie

Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton
Brady Skjei - Brett Pesce
Jake Gardiner - Jani Hankanpaa

Injuries and scratches: James Reimer (healthy), Brock McGinn (upper body), Teuvo Teravainen (IR, concussion symptoms)

Though, like the Hurricanes, the Lightning did not have a morning skate Tuesday, it’s expected the Bolts will go with the same lineup as Monday.

The one question mark is in net, where the Lightning have yet to name a starter. Tampa Bay could give former Hurricane Curtis McElhinney the start tonight, or it could use workhorse Andrei Vasilevskiy for the second straight night for this pivotal matchup.

Ondrej Palat - Brayden Point - Alex Barre-Boulet
Alex Killorn - Anthony Cirelli - Tyler Johnson
Barclay Goodrow - Yanni Gourde - Blake Coleman
Patrick Maroon - Ross Colton - Mathieu Joseph

Victor Hedman - Erik Cernak
Ryan McDonagh - David Savard
Mikhail Sergachev - Luke Schenn

Andrei Vasilevskiy
Curtis McElhinney

Injuries and scratches: Mitchell Stevens, Steven Stamkos (LTIR), Nikita Kucherov (LTIR)

Taxi squad: Cal Foote, Fredrik Claesson, Gemel Smith, Christopher Gibson, Daniel Walcott