The Carolina Hurricanes try to avenge their only loss this month and avoid a sixth consecutive defeat to the Tampa Bay Lightning when the Southeast Division rivals meet for the second time this season.
Carolina (11-4-3) has won four of five games in November, with the only defeat coming at home to Tampa Bay (8-8-1) last Thursday. That 5-1 loss was also its fifth straight against the Lightning since a 3-2 victory in Tampa on Dec. 16, 2006.
The Hurricanes have bounced back to win the first two games of their three-game road trip, defeating Atlanta 5-3 on Saturday and Florida 4-3 on Monday. The victory over the Panthers was the 200th of Carolina coach Peter Laviolette's career.
"I'm fortunate to be here with a good team with good players," he said. "I guess it's a milestone. It's more important to get the win and keep pushing forward with this group."
Laviolette and the Hurricanes, though, will likely be without forward Erik Cole for this game after he was removed from the ice on a stretcher in the third period Monday and taken to a hospital after colliding with Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun.
Cole, less than two years removed from a serious neck injury, was released from the hospital later that night and cleared to fly to Tampa after a CT scan was negative.
"From what I understand, he had movement in his limbs," Laviolette said. "He had some pain in his trapezoid area, and I think with his previous injury, not knowing what's going on in there, it's just better to be safe."
Carolina improved to 6-2-2 on the road Monday as Cory Stillman scored his second goal of the game with 1:06 to play in the third period. Justin Williams also scored twice for the Hurricanes.
Tampa Bay, meanwhile, tied its season-high winning streak at three with a 5-2 victory at Washington on Saturday. The Lightning had lost their previous six games.
They scored four goals in the third against the Capitals, including two in the first 2:27 of the period. Vaclav Prospal scored the first of the four goals and assisted on the next two for Tampa Bay, which has outscored opponents 13-4 during the three-game run.
Johan Holmqvist made 23 saves Saturday to improve to 8-5-1 with a 2.87 goals-against average. He had a 4.26 GAA in losing five times during the Lightning's six-game skid.
"Holmqvist is reflective of our team. He is solid," Prospal said. "When we didn't play well in front of him, we suffered. He needed better support. We are playing really well now defensively, and it shows."
Holmqvist made a season-high 40 saves in Tampa Bay's win over Carolina on Thursday.
"Sometimes you can find holes in a goaltender and sometimes he stands tall and has his angles," Williams said after that game. "When he didn't see shots, they hit him. And when he saw them, he saved them. He stopped us from having any momentum."
Holmqvist has posted a 1.25 GAA in winning his last four starts against Carolina.
|Apr 02 '08||TBL 2 at CAR 6||C. LaRose|
|Mar 29 '08||CAR 1 at TBL 2||J. Halpern|
|Mar 01 '08||TBL 1 at CAR 5||J. Corvo|
|Dec 22 '07||CAR 4 at TBL 1||R. Whitney|
|Dec 06 '07||CAR 1 at TBL 2||M. St. Louis|
|Nov 23 '07||TBL 3 at CAR 4||G. Wesley|
|Nov 14 '07||CAR 1 at TBL 6||V. Lecavalier|
|Nov 08 '07||TBL 5 at CAR 1||S. O'Brien|