A matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning seems to be a good opportunity for the Carolina Hurricanes to continue their success at home, but recent meetings at the RBC Center seem to suggest otherwise.
On Thursday night, the Hurricanes (9-3-3) look to snap a three-game skid at home against a Lightning team still seeking its first road win this season.
Southeast Division-leading Carolina is 5-1-1 at home, including a 5-0 win over Washington on Monday night. The Hurricanes have scored at least four goals in five of seven home games this season, and have outscored their opponents 28-16 there.
But Carolina is 0-2-1 at home against Tampa Bay after winning four straight over them there. The Hurricanes also have dropped four in a row overall to the Lightning, who are 0-7-0 on the road this season.
Carolina enters this contest having scored an NHL-best 58 goals, led by 11 from Eric Staal. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, has allowed 51 goals - the third-highest total in the Eastern Conference behind Atlanta (58) and Toronto (62).
On Monday, Cory Stillman recorded a hat trick in a 7:05 span of the first period and later added an assist to power Carolina to one of its most lopsided wins of the season.
"The team's winning, we're producing, we have confidence, we have confidence with the puck," said Stillman, who has six goals and eight assists in an eight-game points streak.
Stillman had shoulder injuries in 2006-07, and posted just 27 points in 43 games. Now, he's showing the form from two seasons ago when he had 21 goals and 76 points to help Carolina win the Stanley Cup.
Even though he missed four games with a torso injury earlier this season, Stillman still has eight goals and 19 points. He has only one assist in his last five games against the Lightning.
Tampa Bay got a strong game in goal from Johan Holmqvist against Florida on Wednesday, and snapped a season-high six-game skid with a 3-1 win. Holmqvist, who entered the game with a 3.28 goals-against average, finished with 22 saves.
Holmqvist, who allowed 14 goals in his previous three games, is 3-1-0 with a 1.80 GAA in five contests against Carolina.
Tampa Bay will be trying to win consecutive games for the first time since starting the season with three straight victories.
"We haven't forgotten what our identity is and what we think we can do as a club. We can't," Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "If you start second-guessing all that because of a losing streak, then it's gonna be a long year.
"So you have to try to keep yourself straightened out mentally about how good we can be."
Martin St. Louis and Jan Hlavac scored first-period goals Wednesday for the Lightning (6-8-1), who won for just the third time in 12 games. St. Louis has 11 goals and 16 points in his last 11 games against the Hurricanes.
Vincent Lecavalier added an empty-netter in the closing seconds to cap the scoring. He has goals in four straight games in Raleigh, and 10 points during a five-game run there.