Coming off a 3-2 win over Florida, the Canes host the Lightning to close out the weekend
Sean McCullen – NHL.com Staff Writer
LIGHTNING (28-16-5) at HURRICANES (20-18-9)
TV: SUN, FS-CR
Last 10: Tampa Bay 5-4-1; Carolina 6-3-1
RALEIGH, NC January 19, 2014 – Season series: This is the third and final game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes. The Lightning won the first two games against Carolina, including a 3-2 overtime victory in the most-recent game Dec. 21 at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
Big story: Each team played Saturday, but Carolina will be the fresher team. The Lightning will be playing their fifth game in seven days when they take the ice at PNC Arena to play their former Southwest Division foe. For the Hurricanes, it will be their third game in nine days.
Lightning: Tampa Bay lost 5-4 to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday afternoon despite four goals by Martin St. Louis in the game’s opening 22:07. Joe Pavelski led the Sharks’ rally from a 4-2 deficit, nearly matching St. Louis by scoring a hat trick over a 6:12 stretch in the second half of the second period.
“I did appreciate [scoring four goals] until we were down and the game was over,” said St. Louis, who has eight goals and three assists during a seven-game point streak and is tied with four players, including Pavelski, for third in the NHL with 25 goals. “It’s tough to really be glad about it.”
Coach Jon Cooper called the loss “disastrous.”
“If you tell me before the game that we’re going to score four — regardless if Marty got all four of them, but that made it all that more special — but you’re going to score four goals in two periods and come out on the wrong end of the score, that hasn’t happened to us too often,” he said. “It’s frustrating.”
The loss Saturday was Tampa Bay’s fifth straight defeat on home ice (0-3-2). The Lightning are 5-2-0 in their past seven on the road.
Hurricanes: Carolina coach Kirk Muller reunited his top line from 2012-13 for the Hurricanes’ game against the Florida Panthers on Saturday, and it paid off. Alexander Semin scored his seventh and eighth goals on assists by Eric Staal in the third period to lift Carolina to a 3-2 win.
“We’re going to be in a lot of tight games,” Muller said. “There are guys that are game-breakers and can score that key goal. We have them in our lineup, and we will need them in these games coming up. When your top guys do that, that’s the extra little tool you can have.”
Semin and Staal are joined by Jiri Tlusty on the top line.
CAROLINA HURRICANES TICKETS
The victory snapped a two-game losing streak. Riley Nash‘s goal in the second period was Carolina’s first in 144:46; the Hurricanes, who were shut out in consecutive games, had not scored since Elias Lindholm capped a 6-1 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 9.
Who’s hot: Lightning right wing Teddy Purcell has five points (one goal) his past five games. Center Tyler Johnson has five assists his past five games. . … Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin made 37 saves against Florida to improve to 3-2-0 his past five starts. He has a 1.80 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage in those games.
Injury report: Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos (broken leg) and defenseman Keith Aulie (hand) are on injured reserve. Stamkos has been skating with the team. Defenseman Victor Hedman (ankle) did not return Saturday after he was hit by a shot in the third period and helped to the locker room. Hedman is day-to-day. … Carolina goalie Cam Ward (lower body), who has been on IR since Dec. 31, and left wing Drayson Bowman (lower body) are day-to-day.