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Preview: Lightning vs. Hurricanes

Central's top two teams meet on Pride Night in Raleigh

by Michael Smith @MSmithCanes /

The Carolina Hurricanes make a brief return home to host the Tampa Bay Lightning, a match-up of the top two teams in the Central Division.

The Match-Up

Tampa Bay Lightning (24-7-2, 50 points) vs. Carolina Hurricanes (22-7-3, 47 points)

Saturday, March 27, 7 p.m.

Watch: FOX Sports Carolinas, FOX Sports GO

Listen: 99.9 FM The Fan,, Hurricanes app


Numbers to Know

13: With an assist on Thursday, Dougie Hamilton extended his franchise-best point streak by a defenseman to 13 games (2g, 13a). It's the longest active point streak in the NHL and tied for the longest point streak by any player in the NHL this season (Auston Matthews).

27: Since the beginning of March, Sebastian Aho and Martin Necas have combined for 27 points (13g, 14a), and they have each factored in on the same goal seven times.

The Opposition

Last five games: 4-1-0, 8 points
On the road: 11-5-2, 24 points
CAR vs. TB: 2-3-0
Leading scorer: Victor Hedman, 33 points (6g, 27a) in 33 games

The Lightning sit atop the league standings with 50 points in 33 games (24-7-2), but the Canes trail them by just three points with a game in hand. The Bolts saw a pair of streaks end in a 4-3 loss in Dallas on Thursday: the team's five-game winning streak and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy's 12-game winning streak.

The Last Meeting

The Canes and Lightning faced off four straight times from Feb. 20-25. The Canes took the first game, a 4-0 shutout win in Raleigh, before the Bolts answered back to win three straight, including both games in Tampa. In the most recent meeting, though Brett Pesce opened the scoring in the game in the first period, the Lightning responded with three unanswered goals to win 3-1. Former Hurricane Curtis McElhinney was the difference with 31 saves in net.

Video: Pesce scores the lone goal in a 3-1 loss

"It's deflating, no question. We were the better team tonight," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "A lot of grade-As, and we didn't give up much. I was really, really happy. Unfortunately, that's hockey. You get some bad bounces, and a couple things don't go your way."

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