Tampa Bay at Carolina
When: 7:30 PM
ET, Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Where: PNC Arena, Raleigh, North Carolina
The Tampa Bay Lightning look to pick up where they left off before the All-Star break when they visit the improved Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. The Lightning have won three straight contests and 10 of their last 13 to sit atop the Eastern Conference with 64 points, and attempt to beat Carolina for the 10th time in the last 11 games. The Hurricanes lost a pair of 2-1 decisions at Tampa Bay in December and have raised their level of play in January, going 6-2-1 in their last nine contests.
Carolina is 29th in the league in scoring, but has been a decent defensive team much of the season while standing 11th in goals-against (2.52) and fourth in penalty killing (87 percent). That will be tested by the league’s top offensive team at 3.21 goals per game, but leading scorer Tyler Johnson (48 points) will be a game-time decision due to a lower-body injury. Lightning captain Steven Stamkos had six goals in eight games before the break.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (30-14-4): Johnson was forced to miss the All-Star Game after aggravating an injury last week, but practiced on Monday and will test it again in the morning. Stamkos has 26 goals and has been playing with Valtteri Filppula and Ryan Callahan of late while Alex Killorn (four points, four games) was moved to a different line. With one top-six defenseman out for the season and another likely gone until mid March, rookie blue-liner Nikita Nesterov (two assists, plus-3) has played well in seven games.
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (16-25-5): Captain Eric Staal, who has posted 31 goals and 67 points in 63 career games against the Lightning, tallied twice in the 4-1 victory over Toronto on Jan. 19. Staal leads the team with 28 points while All-Star defenseman Justin Faulk (26) is the only other player with at least 20 for the Hurricanes, who are 0-of-13 on the power play the last five games. Cam Ward allowed four goals on 65 shots in two games against the Lightning this season and is 19-16-3 lifetime against them.
1. Tampa Bay G Ben Bishop is 5-0-0 with 1.19 goals-against average and a .967 save percentage versus the Hurricanes.
2. Carolina LW Jeff Skinner has gone four contests without a point, but boasts nine goals in 18 career outings against the Lightning.
3. Tampa Bay LW Nikita Kucherov, who leads the league with a plus-28 rating, has three of the four goals against the Hurricanes this season.
PREDICTION: Lightning 5, Hurricanes 2
Stats and Records