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Lightning Face Hurricanes Tonight

by Lonnie Herman / Tampa Bay Lightning

Bolts Seek Win Before Five-Game Road Swing

The Tampa Bay Lightning return home to the St. Pete Times Forum tonight to host the division rival Carolina Hurricanes.

The visit is a brief one for the Lightning; just long enough to play Carolina before they re-pack and head out for a five-game western road swing.

Tonight’s game is the third meeting between these two teams this season. The Lightning are 0-0-2 against the Hurricanes this season, with one shootout and one overtime loss. Vincent Lecavalier, goal leader for Tampa with 16, has two goals in the two games against Carolina.

Goal production, once a sore spot with the Bolts, lately has been no problem. Even while dropping their last game Thursday in Washington, the team netted four goals, behind Lecavalier who has two and Martin St. Louis, the team point leader with 35, who had three assists.

Both St. Louis and forward Ryan Malone have been on a point-tear of late, with St. Louis grabbing eight points over the last three games while Malone has tallied seven points. Tampa Bay (10-17-10) have earned seven points in the standings over their last five games.

Carolina, 19-15-5, is in second place in the Southeast Division, 10 points behind the Capitals. They are currently riding a two-game winning streak after defeating the St. Louis Blues, 2-1, on Friday.

The Hurricanes have produced a 7-4-3 record since new coach Paul Maurice took over thirty days ago.

Veteran Ray Whitney leads the Hurricanes in scoring with 32 points and Eric Staal has the lead in goals scored for the team with 18. Goalie Cam Ward has won four of his last five games against the Lightning, producing 1.58 goals against average in those contests.

After tonight, the Lightning will not be back in town until January 15th when they meet the Philadelphia Flyers.

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