TAMPA - The Carolina Hurricanes close out their 15-game November slate with a Saturday night match-up against the Tampa Bay Lightning, the reigning Presidents' Trophy winners.
The Canes will look to end the month in the win column after losses to the New York Rangers and Nashville Predators sandwiched Thanksgiving.
Trouble Around Turkey Day
On Thanksgiving Eve in the Big Apple, the Hurricanes got buried in a 3-0 hole in the first period, and though they scored a pair of goals in the second, they couldn't quite catch the Rangers in a 3-2 loss.
"It's a 60-minute game. You have to play for 60 minutes. We weren't ready at the start," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We were a little sluggish. Bing, bing, bing, and now you have to dig yourself out of a hole. We weren't able to do that."
Two nights later, the Canes showed no signs of tryptophan-induced sluggishness against the Predators. In fact, the Canes were buzzing early and held an 8-3 shot advantage. But, the Preds grabbed a 2-0 lead before the period was over and locked it down from there to hand the Canes their first shutout loss of the season, 3-0.
Video: Staal: "We've got a big challenge ahead of us"
"We were not poor tonight, that's for sure," Brind'Amour said. "We just weren't able to capitalize. That's it."
The Hurricanes swapped centers with the Charlotte Checkers on Friday morning, reassigned Eetu Luostarinen and recalling Clark Bishop.
"I'm hoping to see a little of what Bish brought last year," Brind'Amour after Friday's morning skate. "He's got that physical, gritty style and fits to what we're doing, that's for sure."
In Bishop's season debut, he logged two shots on goal, an additional shot attempt, three hits and a takeaway in 8:13 of ice time.
The Last Meeting
The Hurricanes and Lightning last met on Oct. 6, a 4-3 overtime win for the Canes that was their third straight come-from-behind victory to open the season. After Brett Pesce opened the scoring just 74 seconds into the game, Tampa Bay answered back with three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission. The Canes rallied with power-play goals from Erik Haula in the second period and Dougie Hamilton in the third to force overtime, where Jaccob Slavin scored the game-winner at the 1:53 mark.
"Our team doesn't quit," said Hamilton, who was named the first star with his game-tying goal and an assist. "We just keep going."
Video: Slavin, Hurricanes rally past Lightning in OT
Like the Hurricanes, the Lightning were also in action on Black Friday; despite leading 3-1 heading into the third period, Tampa settled for a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals. The Bolts have earned points in four of their last five games (3-1-1) and are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. Nikita Kucherov is tied for the team lead in goals (9) and is the sole leader in assists (18) and points (27).
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