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Preview: Hurricanes at Lightning

Steven Stamkos practices with Tampa Bay, which continues playoff push against Carolina

by Corey Long / Correspondent

HURRICANES (25-25-9) at LIGHTNING (28-25-8)

7 p.m. ET; SUN, FS-SE, NHL.TV


Hurricanes team scope

Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner has a stiff neck but not a concussion, general manager Ron Francis said Wednesday. Skinner, who was hit in the head by an elbow from Calgary Flames forward Alex Chiasson on Sunday, will not play but Francis hopes he'll return to the lineup against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday. Forwards Patrick Brown and Andrej Nestrasil were recalled from Charlotte of the American Hockey League and will join the Hurricanes for the second of a back-to-back set. Forward Brock McGinn (upper body) could play or defenseman Matt Tennyson could be used as a fourth-line forward for the second consecutive game. The Hurricanes are 6-3-3 on the front end of back-to-backs and 6-4-1 on the back end.


Lightning team scope

Captain Steven Stamkos practiced with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the first time since he tore the lateral meniscus in his right knee on Nov. 15 but did not do any line rushes or contact drills. Forward Tyler Johnson said that having Stamkos back on the ice is a great lift for the Lightning, who are 6-1-2 in their past nine games and five points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Eastern Conference. "It makes things a little more fun," Johnson said. "We just have to continue to play well and get points so we're in a good spot when he gets back." Recently acquired forward Greg McKegg and goalie Peter Budaj also joined their new teammates. Defenseman Mark Streit was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for a fourth-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft. The Lightning initially acquired Streit in a trade with the Philadelphia Flyers for forward Valtteri Filppula and a fourth- and seventh-round pick in 2017. The Lightning also traded goalie prospect Adam Wilcox to the Florida Panthers for goalie Mike McKenna.


Hurricanes projected lineup

Brock McGinn -- Jordan Staal -- Phil Di Giuseppe

Sebastian Aho -- Victor Rask -- Elias Lindholm

Teuvo Teravainen -- Derek Ryan -- Lee Stempniak

Joakim Nordstrom -- Jay McClement -- Andrej Nestrasil

Jaccob Slavin -- Justin Faulk

Noah Hanifin -- Brett Pesce

Klas Dahlbeck -- Matt Tennyson

Eddie Lack

Cam Ward

Scratched: Patrick Brown, Ryan Murphy

Injured: Jeff Skinner (upper body), Bryan Bickell (illness)


Lightning projected lineup

Ondrej Palat -- Tyler Johnson -- Nikita Kucherov

Alex Killorn -- Brayden Point -- Jonathan Drouin

Adam Erne - Greg McKegg -- Vladislav Namestnikov

Gabriel Dumont -- Cedric Paquette -- J.T. Brown

Victor Hedman -- Jake Dotchin

Jason Garrison -- Anton Stralman

Braydon Coburn -- Andrej Sustr

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Peter Budaj

Scratched: Luke Witkowski

Injured: Ryan Callahan (hip), Steven Stamkos (knee)


Status report

McKegg did not participate in line rushes Wednesday. …Dumont cleared waivers and is staying with the Lightning but would be eligible for the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League if they made the playoffs. … Francis hopes to get Bickell back in the lineup before the end of season. Bickell was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis on Nov. 12, 2016.


Who's hot

Kucherov had a natural hat trick Tuesday and has four goals and five assists in his past three games. …Staal has two goals and six assists in his past eight games.

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