WHERE: RBC Center, Raleigh, North Carolina
WHEN: 7 PM EST
MEDIA: Sun Sports (Cable), 620 WDAE (radio)
The spend the next two days playing back-to-back road games to conclude their road trip that started in Phoenix on Monday. And while the west coast spin netted three points, those three points weren't against members fo the same conference, let alone the same division.
It's still too early to drop the "P" word, but it is integral that the Lightning show up in Raleigh tonight and Atlanta tomorrow. The Bolts are seven points behind the division-leading Capitals in the standings, and ten points ahead of the cellar-dwelling Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes have mostly been floundering this season. Starting with their loss to the Lightning on October 10th, the Canes went on to lose the next 14 games and have not won a regulation contest since October 9th versus the Florida Panthers. In fact, that is their only regulation win in 21 games so far this season.
The Canes have gone to the shootout the last four games - a club record - splitting the results 2-2. It's moved them out of the conference basement.
Cam Ward's horrific accident has left the team with Manny Legace serving as the primary starter now. He'll be in net for Carolina tonight. Also on ice tonight for the Hurricanes, returning from injury, is defenseman Joni Pitkanen (13 games, 5 points, -11).
The Canes have a 14.9% conversion rate on the power play and a 79.6% kill rate with a man disadvantage. They're taking 31 shots a game on-average and giving up 30.
We'll have line combos for tonight's game as soon as they've been cemented in -- questions still linger on what's going on with defense as Matt Smaby is returning from a conditioning assignment and Mike Lundin has been recalled from Norfolk ... Neither, however, are expected to play. Also not playing tonight (or tomorrow night in Atlanta for that matter) is defenseman Mattias Ohlund. Ohlund hopes to return to action against the Leafs durign the week ahead. Mike Smith is likely to be in goal again for the Lightning tonight, in part so Antero Niittymaki can attempt to increase his lights-out streak against Atlanta tomorrow.
[Note by John Fontana, 11/21/09 5:21 PM EST ] Haven't seen anything that would indicate a change from this weekend besides Ohlund still not playing. So here are the likely lines for tonight from TB:
Tampa Bay Lightning Projected Lines
(updated November 16, 2009 by RawCharge subject to change)
Mike Smith (Starter)
* gametime decision