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Preview: Lightning vs. Hurricanes

Canes return home to close out first back-to-back set of season

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes / CarolinaHurricanes.com

The Carolina Hurricanes, winners of two straight to begin the 2019-20 season, return home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning to close out their first of 16 back-to-back sets.

The Hurricanes spoiled the Washington Capitals' home opener with a 3-2 overtime win on Saturday. Jake Gardiner scored the game-winning goal in the final minute of overtime after the Canes erased a two-goal deficit in the third period, and James Reimer made 32 saves in his debut with Carolina.

"Any time you have some adversity like this, whether it's game two or game 82, it's good to come back and battle. I thought we worked hard all game," Reimer said. "It was just a matter of sticking with it for a full 60 or 64-and-a-half. … I think it's a good win for us. It shows some of the character we have in here. Games like this just build it."

Rallying to Victory

In the first two games of the 2019-20 regular season, the Hurricanes have erased deficits in the third period and won the game in overtime or a shootout. It's the fifth time in franchise history that the team has opened with two consecutive overtime games and the first time ever the team has won both of said games.

On Opening Night in Raleigh, the Canes climbed out of a 3-2 hole in the third period with Erik Haula's first goal of the season before claiming the extra point in the shootout.

Two nights later, the Canes expunged a two-goal deficit in the final period of regulation before Gardiner's first mark of the season lifted them to victory in the final minute of overtime.

Video: Gardiner's OT goal lifts Hurricanes past Capitals

"We know we're capable of it," Gardiner said. "Sometimes you're going to go down a few goals, and hopefully you can battle back."

"It's a long process. This win is nice, but it's one building block," Reimer said. "We're building here, and every day we're trying to be a better team."

New Guys Making an Impact

Haula has two goals in as many games with the Hurricanes, his second coming on the power play to get the Canes on the board in Washington on Saturday. Reimer stopped 32 of 34 shots in his first start and win with the Canes. Gardiner's first goal as a Hurricane was his sixth game-winner of his career, four of which have been scored in overtime (the last coming in February 2017).

PROJECTED LINEUP

The new faces are quickly making a difference for the Canes.

"When you contribute, it's automatic now. You feel like you're part of the group," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "It's huge for those guys."

The Opposition

The Lightning, who were also in action on the road on Saturday night, bring a 1-1-0 record to Raleigh. Tampa Bay mounted a comeback in South Florida on Saturday, but the Panthers, spurred by three straight goals in less than three minutes in the second and a hat trick from Mike Hoffman, fended off the Bolts in a 4-3 final. 


AT THE RINK

It's Youth Hockey Night, as we celebrate the future of the game. A special ticket offer is available for youth hockey players and their families.

Giveaway alert! The first 5,000 fans in attendance will receive a 2019-20 schedule magnet.

Sunday afternoon's festivities begin outside PNC Arena with a South Plaza Party at 3 p.m. The weather looks beautiful, too, with highs in the upper 70s.


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