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Hurricanes @ Lightning: Game Preview

The Hurricanes look to figure out their special teams woes.

NHL: Preseason-Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is that the Hurricanes are averaging 4.5 goals per game. The bad news is that their opponents are averaging five goals per game.

Working out the finer details of early-season hockey is still a bit of an adventure as the Hurricanes get into the swing of things. Special teams, usually a highlight for the Hurricanes, have been lackluster so far. The team’s penalty kill, with a 67.9% success rate, is currently 29th in the league. While the Hurricanes lead the league with four shorthanded goals, that doesn’t change the fact that they’re allowing goals on the penalty kill at a very unfamiliar rate.

Over just the last two games, the Hurricanes have allowed five goals on the penalty kill, as well as two shorthanded goals. That’s very uncharacteristic for the team and is something that the team is clearly looking to rectify quickly.

On the other side of the ice tonight are the Tampa Bay Lightning. While the Lightning don’t have the exact same woes to contend with as the Hurricanes, they’ve had their own early season struggles. Life without goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who is out until late November at the earliest as he recovers from an injury, hasn’t been all that easy for the Lightning. The goaltending tandem of Jonas Johansson and Matt Tomkins is relatively untested — the pair have a combined 41 games of NHL experience, and 40 of those games belong to Johansson.

Both teams look to right the ship and push past injuries to get their season on a better path.

Game Notes

  • Forward Alex Barré-Boulet, who was second in regular season scoring in the AHL last season, is getting a chance to prove he can stick in the NHL. The 5’10” forward is set to log some time on Tampa’s top line.
  • The Hurricanes are close to getting a few players back. Sebastian Aho is a maybe for tonight’s game. Andrei Svechnikov is getting closer to a return, but the team reports he need a few more practices before jumping into a game. Brett Pesce isn’t expected to be out long term and Frederik Andersen could be back soon as well.
  • Martin Necas currently has points in four consecutive games.
  • Newcomer Dmitry Orlov is still looking for his first goal as a Hurricane. Other regular players yet to find the back of the net are Jordan Martinook, Tony DeAngelo, Jalen Chatfield, and Jack Drury.
  • Tony DeAngelo celebrates his 28th birthday today. He previously played on his birthday in 2019, where he recorded a goal and an assist against Buffalo while on the New York Rangers.