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Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning: Game Preview

A night after the Hurricanes played a chippy game against a familiar opponent, they get the opportunity tonight to follow up on last week’s chippy game against a familiar opponent.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After the past two games, it’s safe to say that the Carolina Hurricanes did not, in fact, permanently lose the capability to score goals.

After exploding for 13 goals over their past two games, the Hurricanes – led by Martin Necas, of all people – have reminded everyone just why it was so premature to write them off on the basis of not being able to hit water from a boat for a week or so. That led to the Washington Capitals becoming increasingly frustrated last night, resulting in a potentially lengthy injury to Jesperi Kotkaniemi.

And wouldn’t you know it: next up tonight is a follow-up to last Tuesday’s punchy affair in Raleigh where Nikita Kucherov was looking for any and all comers on his way off the ice in the waning moments of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 3-2 loss.

Buckle 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 Antti Raanta Jeremy Swayman
Category Antti Raanta Jeremy Swayman
Record 15-5-4 23-14-3
Save % .912 .914
GAA 2.45 2.41

Game Notes

  • The Lightning are finishing up a very road-heavy month of March where they played ten of their 15 games on the road. Tonight’s game is their first home game since March 19, and only their second since March 4 (!).
  • Perhaps not surprising given the extensive travel, the Lightning have treaded water this month. They’re 7-7-0 in March, and a loss to the Hurricanes tonight would ensure their first month with a losing record this season.
  • The Hurricanes are poised for a season sweep of the Lightning with a win tonight, which would be their first sweep of the Lightning since the 2008-09 season and only their third in history.
  • When last these two teams met, a week ago at PNC Arena, the Hurricanes held on for a 3-2 win on the strength of power-play goals by Necas and Tony DeAngelo and the game-winner from Sebastian Aho. But what you’ll probably remember is the benches clearing at the end of the game, with every member of both teams yelling pleasantries at the other and the whole scene looking like a WWE battle royal.
  • The teams’ only other meeting this year was November 9 in Tampa, won by the Hurricanes 2-1 on a Necas overtime goal that occurred after Brady Skjei’s presumed game-winner minutes before was nullified on an offside review.
  • This is almost impossible to believe, but it’s true: only once in franchise history, including the Hartford days, have the Hurricanes swept a three-game road trip. A win tonight would mark the second time, joining a run from November 14-19, 2019 in the record books.
  • Jaccob Slavin’s 31st assist of the season last night set a career high, and also gave him 200 points in his NHL career. He’s one of five defensemen in franchise history to hit the 200-point mark, and is 58 points behind record holder Justin Faulk for the top scoring defenseman in franchise history.
  • Speaking of 200-point milestones, Andrei Svechnikov is two points away from hitting that total himself.
  • The Hurricanes have registered fighting majors in three straight games for the first time this season after Brendan Smith’s tussle with Tom Wilson last night. (Given the history here, the betting money is on it being four in a row after tonight.)
  • A friendly reminder: tonight’s game is an ESPN+ exclusive. It won’t be on regular ESPN nor on Bally Sports South. Mike and Tripp will have the call on the radio only.