Lightning-Hurricanes Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 03, 2012
The Tampa Bay Lightning's playoff push got a nice boost with a victory over the Eastern Conference's top team. A victory over the Lighting could give the Carolina Hurricanes a much-needed lift. Tampa Bay goes for a fourth straight victory on Saturday night when the host Hurricanes try to avoid their first set of back-to-back regulation losses in nearly two months. Since losing at Winnipeg and Pittsburgh last week by a combined 12-4 score, the Lightning (30-28-6) have gone undefeated and are tied with Buffalo with 66 points, four back of eighth-place Winnipeg in the conference. Tampa Bay rallied from two down on Friday for a 4-3 overtime win over the New York Rangers. The Lightning have won six of eight following a 1-3-1 skid. "Our players have really developed this mental toughness to fight through," coach Guy Boucher said Friday after Ryan Malone netted the game-winner. "We're getting rewarded for not quitting.'' While Tampa Bay tries to win four in a row for the first time since a season-best 5-0-0 run from Jan. 17-31, Carolina (24-27-13) enters this Southeast Division matchup needing to build momentum with a season-high five-game trip starting Tuesday. Before beginning their stretch of 10 of 12 outside Raleigh, the Hurricanes will try to cap off their six-game homestand by recording eight of 12 possible points. Their four-game point streak ended Thursday with a 3-2 loss to the Rangers. "We were there, we just fell short," said coach Kirk Muller, whose team last dropped two straight in regulation on Jan. 7 and 10. The Hurricanes, who have points in 15 of 19 games since a 5-2 victory at Tampa Bay on Jan. 12, are tied with the New York Islanders with 61 points, five back of the Lightning and Buffalo. Continued production from captain Eric Staal could help the Hurricanes close that gap on Tampa Bay. Staal has seven goals and 11 assists during a 10-game point streak. Since the team relocated from Hartford in 1997, there is only one longer point streak, Staal's 11-game run from Jan. 16-Feb. 5, 2010. Staal's current nine-game streak with an assist is the longest such stretch by a Hurricane since relocation. He has a team-high five points - all assists in Tampa Bay - as these teams have split four games in 2011-12. Staal's season-high three assists weren't enough in the last meeting on Jan. 12. Martin St. Louis' nine-game point streak versus Carolina ended that night, but the Lightning forward enters this contest with four goals and eight points in the last five games after setting up Teddy Purcell's career-high 18th on Friday. Purcell, who has five goals and 12 assists during an eight-game point streak, is tied with Steven Stamkos - the league leader with 45 goals - with a team-best three scores against Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward this season. If Ward makes a fifth start against Tampa Bay this season, it will be his 400th career game - all with Carolina. Ward is 9-3-1 with a 1.99 goals-against average in his last 13 home starts, yet he's turned aside just 57 of 64 shots as these teams have split two games in Raleigh in 2011-12. With an 11-3-2 record in his last 16 starts, Mathieu Garon should make his first start in Carolina this season. Garon surrendered three first-period goals on eight shots on Jan. 12 before being replaced by Dwayne Roloson. Tampa Bay opens its season-high seven-game homestand on March 10 versus Carolina.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL Legends (and Jose Canseco!) Have No Love For Captain America
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Lochte to be summoned to appear in Rio, charged with making false report

Carlos Ruiz traded to Dodgers

Ezekiel Elliott reportedly arrived at training camp overweight

Olympian auctions off medal to help young cancer patient

Report: Dodgers have turned down lowball offers for Puig

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jason Pierre-Paul’s lawsuit against Adam Schefter, ESPN will proceed

The Rock, Vin Diesel to settle 'rivalry' at WrestleMania 33?

Report: Browns trade former No. 6 overall pick Mingo to Pats

Harden organizing players-only minicamp with Rockets

Raiders file trademark applications for ‘Las Vegas Raiders’

U.S. Soccer hands Solo six month suspension for Olympic comments

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

The 20 best boxing movies ever

Will Perriman help Ravens find elusive WR success?

Jay Bouwmeester’s selection to Team Canada’s World Cup roster is a head-scratcher

Five MLB players with a lot to lose down the stretch

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Bruce Arians on sideline video use: 'It helps bad coaches'

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron's 'Cleveland Hustles'

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

Can Perriman's return help Ravens find oft-elusive WR success?

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron James' 'Cleveland Hustles'

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker