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GAME PREVIEW: HURRICANES at Tampa Bay Lightning

by Staff Writer / Carolina Hurricanes

GAME NIGHT: The Carolina Hurricanes enter tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning with a 9-8-5 record in the team’s first 22 games of the season…The Hurricanes skated to a 1-1 tie with the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday at the Entertainment and Sports Arena…The Hurricanes are 2-1-2 in their last five games and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games…Tonight marks the final road game of the month for Carolina…Following tonight’s game, Carolina returns home to host the Pittsburgh Penguins tomorrow night at the Entertainment and Sports Arena….The Hurricanes will play 17 sets of back to back games this season…During the 1999-2000 season, Carolina is 4-5-1 in back to back games with a 1-3-0 record in the first game and a 3-2-0 record in the second game.

ON THE AIR:

Local Television: HTS/Fox Sports South

Radio: WRBZ-850 AM (Raleigh), WFAI-1230 AM (Fayetteville), WGHB 1250 AM (Greenville), WSML-1200 AM (Graham), WRMT-1490 AM (Rocky Mount), WJNC-1240 AM (Jacksonville), WRNS-960 AM (Kinston), WTRP-620 AM (La Grange, GA), WEEB-990 AM (Southern Pines), WRQR-106.7 FM (Wilmington), WSJS-600 AM (Winston-Salem), WDLZ- 98.3 FM (Murfreesboro).

CAROLINA/TAMPA BAY SERIES: The Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning meet tonight for the second of five games this season…Carolina leads the overall series by a 15-8-5 margin, including a 5-6-2 mark on the road…The Hurricanes are unbeaten in their last nine games against the Lightning (5-0-4), last losing 4-2, in the 1997-98 season opener at the Ice Palace… Carolina defeated Tampa Bay in the last meeting of the series, 4-2, on November 13 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena…Jeff O’Neill, Sean Hill and Andrei Kovalenko each scored in a 6:22 span of the first period as the Hurricanes defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-2…Carolina converted on its two first power-play opportunities in the first period in building an early 3-0 lead…Hill (1g, 1a), Kovalenko (1g, 1a), and Marek Malik (0g, 2a) each registered two points in the first period to lead the Hurricanes to their second win at home this season. Arturs Irbe notched his fifth win of the season, holding Tampa Bay to two goals on 21 shots.

CAROLINA NOTES: On Wednesday, Sami Kapanen scored on Carolina’s first power-play attempt and Arturs Irbe notched 20 saves as the Carolina Hurricanes skated to a 1-1 tie with the Vancouver Canucks…Trailing 1-0 in the second period, defensemen Paul Coffey and Sean Hill combined efforts to set up Kapanen for his team-leading 10th goal of the season at the 6:54 mark…Kapanen, who leads the team in points, collected his seventh power-play point of the season, also a team high…Carolina successfully killed each of Vancouver’s three power-play attempts…The Hurricanes have successfully killed their last 17 consecutive penalties since allowing an Eric Desjardins power-play goal on November 11 at Philadelphia…Carolina has not allowed a power-play goal in nine games at home this season and in its last six games overall…After winning the Southeast Division last season, the Hurricanes are unbeaten this season (2-0-1) against division foes…CAROLINA AT HOME: 4-4-1 CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 5-4-4 CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 13.5% (12 for 89) CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 85.9% (55 for 64)

TAMPA BAY NOTES: Entering tonight’s game, the Lightning are in fourth place in the Southeast Division with 19 points…Tampa Bay is seeking their first win in the division after totaling a 0-4-1 record through their first five games…On Wednesday night, Tampa lost at home to the New York Rangers, 6-3…Tonight’s game against Carolina is the third of a four-game homestand…Tampa hosts the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday before embarking on a four-game road trip through California and Arizona…1998 number one overall draft pick Vincent Lecavalier leads the Lightning with seven goals this season…TAMPA BAY AT HOME: 6-4-1 TAMPA BAY ON THE ROAD: 2-8-0 TAMPA BAY ON THE POWER PLAY: 16.8% (16 for 95) TAMPA BAY SHORTHANDED: 79.6% (78 for 98).

CAROLINA INJURY UPDATE: Jeff O’Neill missed the Hurricanes’ game against Vancouver (11/24) due to back spasms…His status is day-to-day…Glen Wesley has missed the last two games with a groin injury…His status is day-to-day.

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