HURRICANES (2-2-0) at LIGHTNING (0-1-2)
Season Series: The Lightning and Hurricanes play each other for the second time this week, having faced off in Raleigh on Tuesday. The Hurricanes took a 2-1 decision via the shootout. Sergei Samsonov scored the winner, after Jussi Jokinen and Tampa's Ryan Malone traded power-play goals in regulation.
Big Story: The Lightning have yet to win a game this season, and are hungry to grab more than one point in a game, as their last two loses were in the shootout. Tampa Bay captain Vincent Lecavalier is also in search of his first goal of the season. The 2007 Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy winner leads the Lightning with 16 shots, but has yet to find the back of the net.
Hurricanes: Since falling to the Bruins, 7-2, on Oct. 3, the Hurricanes have posted two wins, including a 7-2 win over the Panthers on Friday night. Carolina got off to a quick start, outshooting Florida 16-5 in the first period and scoring three unanswered goals. Cam Ward was solid with 25 saves, but only had to face five shots in the first and third periods.
Eric Staal has recorded just one point this season and was restricted to just two shots on goal against the Panthers. Staal, who has scored 30-plus goals in each of the last four seasons, needed 25 stitches on his left ear to close a cut he received in the loss to Boston. This is already the Hurricanes’ second back-to-back game this season.
"Hats off to Carolina, they played a great first period, and the game was over in the first 20 minutes. That was the story of the game," Florida coach Peter DeBoer said. "We turned pucks over and made mental mistakes, and they capitalized."
Lightning: The Lightning haven't had the best of luck in their last two games. While Tampa had a very slow start in their most recent shootout lost to the Devils, managing only seven shots in the first period, they came out storming in the second, outshooting New Jersey 25-9. Sophomore Steven Stamkos scored twice in the game to wipe out a pair of deficits and Todd Fedoruk scored his first of the season to give the Lightning a 3-2 edge. Unfortunately for Tampa, the Devils scored with one second remaining in the third period to force overtime and won in a shootout.
"We played so hard," Stamkos said. "Almost 50 shots on a team like New Jersey. It's like there's something stopping us from getting the win. Everyone worked so hard, Smitty (Mike Smith) made some big saves in overtime. They get that lucky bounce and bring it in. I don't know what it is. It's frustrating as a team and individually to know that the guys worked so hard and to have that happen, it's just bad luck.”
Who's Hot: Martin St. Louis currently leads the Lightning with five points, assisting Stamkos on his two goals against the Devils. Youngsters Stamkos and Victor Hedman follow closely behind with four and three points respectively. Hedman is third in points among NHL rookies.
Jokinen leads the 'Canes with four points, including a goal and two assists against Florida on Friday. Tuomo Ruutu leads Carolina with 16 shots on goal and has two points.
Injury Report: Hurricanes left wing Michael Ryan continues to be out with an upper body injury, while Erik Cole is expected to be out for four to six weeks with a broken leg suffered in the game against Boston. Lightning defenseman Kurtis Foster is out with a lower-body injury.
Stat Pack: Prior to Friday's game, the Hurricanes' record since 2001-02 was 209-158-70 (.558) with Cole in the lineup and 24-39-2 (.385) when Cole was out of the lineup.
Puck Drop: The Lightning are due to break out with the offensive skills of Lecavalier, St. Louis, Stamkos, and the new additions of free agent Alex Tanguay and their 2009 top draft pick Hedman. It is only a matter of time, and Tampa will be desperately seeking to reverse Tuesday's loss to Carolina.
-- Magalie Lafrenière, NHL.com