TAMPA - The Carolina Hurricanes put their season-best, five-game winning streak on the line when they close out their three-game road trip in Tampa.
The Canes snapped the Islanders' six-game winning streak on Tuesday with a 4-3 victory in their return to Nassau Coliseum, and the road trip began with a 5-4 win in Ottawa on Sunday afternoon.
The Hurricanes are riding a five-game winning streak for the first time since November 2016. During the streak, the Canes have produced at nearly a 42 percent clip on the power play (5-for-12) and have outscored their opponents, 21-13. All 19 skaters who have dressed for the team in the last five games have recorded at least a point, and All-Star Sebastian Aho leads the pack with six points (1g, 5a) in that stretch.
"Winning breeds that (confidence). It's kind of a snowball effect," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said after Tuesday's win on Long Island. "We're just finding ways to win right now without playing our best. … We know we can get better."
The Canes will face their stiffest test of this stretch when they square off against the Eastern Conference's top team.
"We haven't played our best hockey, but we're finding ways to win games," Justin Williams said. "That's what good teams do."
Despite not generating the number of scoring chances they typically do, the Canes are finding ways to put the puck in the back of the net, and they're doing so with contributions from up and down the lineup.
Saku Maenalanen scored his first career NHL goal to get the Canes on the board in New York. Greg McKegg chipped in with another two-point game.
"Those guys have really contributed, and I think Kegger might have been our best forward. Every time I threw him out there, he was noticeable. Saku had a good game, too," Brind'Amour said. "These are the guys who are helping out."
"The theme right now is to just try to get it in deep, work them down low and get pucks to the net," McKegg said. "Try to get to those dirty areas and find loose pucks."
Jaccob Slavin's power-play marker, his second goal in as many games, ended up being the game-winner.
"Perfect. We didn't know we'd need it, but we did," Williams said. "Seems like we always make it interesting, even when we don't have to. We got it done."
The Last Meeting
Tyler Johnson netted a hat trick and Louie Domingue made 38 saves, as the Canes fell 4-2 to the Lightning in Tampa on Oct. 16. That game also closed out a three-game road trip for the Canes after they began the season 4-1-1.
The Lightning are coming off a 4-0 win over Columbus on Tuesday, in which Brayden Point recorded three points (2g, 1a) and All-Star Andrei Vasilevskiy posted a 31-save shutout. That win came after the Lightning fell 5-2 in San Jose on Saturday, snapping the team's 16-game point streak and seven-game winning streak. At 33-8-2 with 68 points, Tampa Bay sits atop the Eastern Conference.
ADVANCE AUTO PARTS KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Early and Often
A goal early and more goals often will benefit the Canes, especially against Tampa Bay's high-octane attack.
2. Be Disciplined
The Bolts have the league's best power play, and it converts at nearly a 30 percent clip. At the other end of the ice, the Canes have the second-ranked penalty kill in the league since Nov. 1. Be disciplined and avoid unnecessary penalties.
3. Find a Way
During this five-game winning streak, the Canes say they haven't played their best hockey, but they've found a way to win. To extend their winning streak, they'll need to a find a way against a tough team in a tough building.
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