HURRICANES (14-14-7) at LIGHTNING (21-11-3)
TV: FS-CR, SUN
Last 10: Carolina 4-4-2; Tampa Bay 5-3-2
Big story: Despite injuries to several key players, Tampa Bay has won three games in a row to move into second place in the Atlantic Division with 45 points. The Lightning trail the Boston Bruins by three points for the division lead.
Hurricanes: Carolina lost 4-2 to the Washington Capitals at home Friday night. The Hurricanes allowed three second-period power-play goals.
"They have a potent power play, and obviously it was a big difference tonight," coach Kirk Muller said of the Capitals. "They've been good all year, and we said we wanted to keep our discipline and stay out of the box. They made us pay for it. We had opportunities too, and we fell short of tying it up."
After visiting Tampa, the Hurricanes will play three of their next four games at PNC Arena.
Lightning: Steven Stamkos scored for the Lightning in their Nov. 1 victory against the Hurricanes. But Tampa Bay is without Stamkos indefinitely after he fractured his right tibia against the Bruins on Nov. 11, and the team has struggled to replace the star's goal-scoring.
Though they've been better of late, scoring nine goals during a three-game winning streak, Tampa Bay has scored 2.22 goals per game and been shut out four times in 18 games since Stamkos was injured; that compares with 3.05 goals per game in 17 games to start the season.
There still is no timetable for Stamkos' return. He skated last Saturday in New Jersey for the first time since surgery to repair the broken tibia and reported he was pain-free.
While Tampa Bay is missing its best forward, the Lightning blue line got a boost this week. Defenseman Victor Hedman returned to the lineup for a 3-0 win Thursday against the Nashville Predators after he missed six games with a lower-body injury.
"Usually when we come off after a game, there would be a whole row of suits after the game, but now there's only a couple of guys, so that's a good sign that we're getting our guys back," coach Jon Cooper said after practice Friday. "Hedman was actually pretty impressive [against Nashville]. He had five or six games he missed, it didn't look like he missed a beat when he was out there. He just eats those big minutes up that we need and takes a lot of pressure off of everybody."
Who's hot: Carolina center Jordan Staal has goals in three of his past six games and at least a point in three of four. He scored the Hurricanes' first goal against Washington on Friday. … Lightning forward Valtteri Filppula has four points (two goals) in his past three games. Center Alex Killorn has two goals in three games.
Injury report: Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen and goalie Anton Khudobin (lower body) are on injured reserve. Defenseman Mike Komisarek (lower body) was activated from IR on Friday but was a healthy scratch against the Capitals. … In addition to Stamkos, Tampa Bay defenseman Keith Aulie (broken hand) is out indefinitely. Left wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie (upper body) is day-to-day. Forwards Ryan Malone (lower body) and Tom Pyatt (broken collarbone) and defensemen Brian Lee (knee) and Mattias Ohlund (knee
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