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Lightning-Hurricanes Preview @NHLdotcom
Lightning-Hurricanes Preview

GAME: Tampa Bay Lightning (18-12-3) at Carolina Hurricanes (21-9-2).

TIME: Tuesday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Carolina Hurricanes have been atop the Southeast Division all season. The Tampa Bay Lightning figure to have something to say about that before too long.

The Lightning try to extend a seven-game road unbeaten streak against the Hurricanes when the teams meet for the third time this season.

Tampa Bay has three wins and four ties in its last seven road games against Carolina, and is 8-1-4 in the past 13 meetings overall. The Lightning haven't lost at the RBC Center since April 10, 2002.

Since a season-high six-game losing streak in early November, Tampa Bay has gone 11-3-1 to pull within five points of the first-place Hurricanes.

Goaltender John Grahame had one of his worst performances of the season in a 6-3 loss to the visiting Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, allowing five goals on 24 shots before he was pulled in the third period.

Lightning coach John Tortorella wasn't happy with Grahame's performance.

"I thought we played very well, but do the math," Tortorella said. "Eight scoring chances, five goals. It's frustrating."

Grahame has lost his last two starts after winning a franchise-record nine consecutive decisions.

Grahame, however, has played very well in two games this season against Carolina, going 2-0-0 with a 2.00 goals-against average. He is 6-3-1 with a 2.68 GAA lifetime against them.

The Hurricanes have won the first three games on their five-game homestand and have won five of six overall.

Chad LaRose scored his first NHL goal and Eric Staal added a goal and an assist in the Hurricanes' 4-1 victory over visiting New Jersey on Saturday.

Carolina dominated the final period, scoring three times and outshooting New Jersey 14-7.

"It was a real good period for us in the third," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "The guys came out and put our best foot forward in the last 20 minutes, which we needed to do. It was 1-1 going in there and there was a lot at stake."

Martin Gerber made 22 saves to improve to 5-1-0 in his last six decisions. Gerber is 0-2-0 with a 3.67 GAA in two career starts against the Lightning.

STANDINGS: Lightning - 39 points, 2nd place, 5 PB, Southeast Division. Hurricanes - 44 points, 1st place, Southeast Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Lightning - Fredrik Modin, 15 goals; Brad Richards, 25 assists; Vaclav Prospal, 37 points; Pavel Kubina, 52 PIM. Hurricanes - Staal, 22 goals and 44 points; Staal and Cory Stillman, 22 assists; Mike Commodore, 59 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Lightning - Power play: 15.2 percent (31 for 204), 23rd in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.2 percent (139 for 165), 6th. Hurricanes - Power play: 18.5 percent (37 for 200), 10th (tied). Penalty killing: 79.4 percent (143 for 180), 26th.

GOALTENDERS: Lightning - Grahame (14-10-1, 1 SO, 2.86 GAA); Sean Burke (4-1-2, 2.55). Hurricanes - Gerber (15-6-1, 2, 2.48); Cam Ward (6-3-1, 4.05).

SEASON SERIES: Lightning, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Nov. 20; Lightning, 5-2. At Raleigh, N.C., Modin had a goal and two assists and Grahame made 20 saves.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Lightning - 8-6-2 on the road; Hurricanes - 12-4-0 at home.

Associated Press
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