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'Canes open homestand against Lightning

by Tal Pinchevsky
LIGHTNING (5-4-2) at HURRICANES (4-4-3)


Last 10: Tampa Bay 4-4-2; Carolina 4-3-3

Season series: This is the second of six meetings this season between these Southeast Division rivals. Their first matchup this season took place in Raleigh on Oct. 7, the season opener for both teams. That night, Jeff Skinner opened the scoring but the Lightning replied with five unanswered goals from five different players to start the season with a 5-1 win.

Big Story: Tuesday’s matchup could come down to goaltending for both teams. After a stretch that saw him allow 17 goals in three games, Tampa Bay's Dwayne Roloson has been unbeatable in his last two outings. Thursday night in Nashville, Roloson came in for Mathieu Garon, who allowed five goals on 17 shots, and didn't allow a goal in a 5-3 loss. The next game, the 42-year-old netminder stopped 28 shots for the 1-0 shutout win over Winnipeg. While the Hurricanes have lost four of their last five, Cam Ward posted a 30-save shutout win over Chicago in his last start.

Team Scope:

Lightning: After the 5-1 win in Raleigh on opening night, the Lightning proceeded to lose five in a row, generating criticism of Roloson’s play. But Tampa Bay has since won four of five, including a home-and-home sweep of Buffalo. While Garon started the first three games in that run, he was pulled Thursday in Nashville and his replacement Roloson hasn’t allowed a goal since, a run that so far stands at 86:24.

Against the Jets on Saturday, Vincent Lecavalier scored the game's lone goal with just 40 seconds remaining in the second period. From there, Roloson took over, holding up the lead despite being outshot 11-3 in the third period.

"He bounced back, so absolutely no surprise there," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said of his goaltender. "I can certainly vouch for his character. His mind set has never changed and he will continue to prove it over and over."

Hurricanes: So far this season, the Hurricanes have struggled to find consistency. They lost their first three games to start the season before rattling off three consecutive wins. Since the modest win streak, Carolina has gone 1-2-2 and open a three-game homestand on Tuesday against the Lightning. The team will look to build on its 2-1-1 home record in November, a month in which they play 10 of 15 games at the RBC Center.

After shutting out the Blackhawks 3-0 on Friday, Cam Ward got the night off Saturday against a Flyers team that had lost four of their previous five. Ward’s replacement, former Flyer Brian Boucher, saw a determined Philadelphia squad. Tied 1-1 heading into the third period, the Flyers scored four straight in the third to win 5-1. Jaromir Jagr accounted for two of those four goals, the 650th and 651st of his historic career.

"They have enough offense that if you make those mistakes in the third, they are going to bring it," Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said.

Who's Hot: Lecavalier has been pacing the Lightning offense of late, registering four goals and six points in his last six games. Not to be outdone, Steven Stamkos is enjoying a six-game point streak in which he has seven points. ... While the Hurricanes have struggled for offense lately, Jeff Skinner has done his part. With four points in his last four games, the second-year forward leads Carolina in scoring with 10 points.

Injury Report: For Tampa Bay, Mattias Ohlund (knee surgery) is on IR while Ryan Malone is questionable with an upper body injury. … Carolina’s only injury is Zac Dalpe, who is out with a lower body injury.
Stat Pack: While he was shut out in their first matchup of the season, the Lightning should look to keep a body on Hurricanes captain Eric Staal. Since the 2005-06 season, his second in the League, Staal has 52 points in 45 games against the Lightning.

Puck Drop: With Roloson showing the form that helped him lead the Lightning to the Eastern Conference Finals, it's hard to say who is the mentor between the veteran goalie and Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher. The reason? Boucher is actually two years younger than Roloson. Currently ranked 59th on the League's all-time wins list, the 42-year-old Roloson is one win behind Martin Biron, two behind Arturs Irbe, and three behind John Ross Roach.
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