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Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning Preview: Harbor from the hurricane

So far on this homestand, Bolts have earned 3 out of 4 points

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes (16-12-7) at Tampa Bay Lightning (18-15-4) GAME 38

Time: 7:00pm EST

Location: Amalie Arena, Tampa

Broadcast/Streaming: Sun, FS-CR

Opponent SB Nation Site: Canes Country

Previous Game Musings:

There isn’t much to say about the Toronto game. Some typical Lightning things happened. The Bolts gave up the first goal for the 24th time this season, the Bolts came back to tie the game, and the Bolts lost the game in overtime. I wish there was more to say, but honestly, this was a game between two teams playing back-to-backs and it was clear; sloppy play between both teams. I wasn’t even upset at Kadri’s game-winning goal, it was just a very good opportunity that they capitalized on. If Vasilevskiy had been there a half second sooner he would’ve stopped it, but I can’t even blame him for that goal. We got a point out of that game, so one point (even if the loser point is dumb) is better than no points. Moving on.

Preview

So far on this homestand, the Lightning have managed 3 out of 4 points, which is not bad, but the loss to Toronto just reinforced a lot of the issues the Lightning have had for the majority of the season.

The Lightning’s inability to score first is becoming meme-like. The Toronto game marked the 24th time that has occurred. The Lightning have now allowed the first goal for 65% of the season so far. 65%! We’ve only played 37 games! The Bolts are 6-15-3 when they allow the first goal. That is just putrid. Meanwhile, when we do manage to score first we sport a sterling 10-2-1 record. We need to score first, Bolts. It’s great to know we can come back from multi-goal deficits, but we’re running out of time to keep this shtick up.

The bright side of this is that the Lightning have played better overall since the holiday break ended. We showed a lot of improvement against Montreal where the goals the Habs did get were flukey mistakes more than anything.

Against Toronto, we managed to scrape a point after a rough period and a half and could’ve have stolen two if not for a post robbing Ondrej Palat late in regulation. You can see the Lightning are playing better, this Carolina game is just another opportunity for the Bolts to keep the momentum moving forward.

The Hurricanes sport a rather mediocre record when scoring first at 7-7-3, but look a lot more competent than the Bolts when allowing the first goal at 6-8-3. They’ve done a solid job this season at not allowing goals, only having been scored on 95 times so far. The Lightning have allowed 104. Where the Canes have had issues is scoring. They’ve managed 25 goals in the first period, 33 in the second, and 28 in the third. The Bolts have potted 23 in the first, 39 in the second, and 41 in the third.

We need the boys to play a strong defensive game against Carolina, they’re a team that hangs around in games and likes to play spoiler. If we can score first and get Carolina to chase a little we should be able to close the game out with a win, but this is not a team to take lightly. Cam Ward has played very well for the Hurricanes as of late, his last 5 games have been very solid with all but one being below a .931: .931(CHI), .885(PITT), .939(BOS), .957(BUFF), .958(BUFF). Though I don’t expect him to start a back-to-back. The Hurricanes currently carry 3 goalies on their roster, but the last two times Ward didn’t play Michael Leighton got the start.

Preview Chart

Tampa Bay Lightning

Forward Lines

Ondrej Palat - Tyler Johnson - Nikita Kucherov

Brian Boyle - Valtteri Filppula - Jonathan Drouin

Alex Killorn - Matthew Peca - Erik Condra

Michael Bournival - JT Brown- Nikita Nesterov

Yanni Gourde

Defence Pairings

Victor Hedman - Anton Stralman

Jason Garrison - Andrej Sustr

Braydon Coburn -Slater Koekkoek

Goaltenders

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Kristers Gudlevskis

Carolina Hurricanes

Forward Lines

Jeff Skinner - Victor Rask - Derek Ryan

Brock McGinn - Jordan Staal - Elias Lindholm

Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen - Lee Stempniak

Joakin Nordstrom - Jay McClement - Viktor Stalberg

Defence Pairings

Jaccob Slavin - Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin - Ron Hainsey

Klas Dahlbeck - Matt Tennyson

Goaltenders

Michael Leighton

Eddie Lack

Cam Ward