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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, January 15th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (26-14-5) at Carolina Hurricanes (21-16-6), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to bring an up-and-down week to a positive end tonight, when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes for a Southeast Division clash at RBC Center.

The Lightning lead the Southeast with 57 points and they are two ahead of Washington in the division standings, thanks in part to Wednesday's 3-0 victory over the Capitals in Tampa.

However, on either side of that big mid-week victory over the Capitals, the Lightning suffered lopsided losses at the hands of the lowly New Jersey Devils, who are last in the NHL with just 26 points.

Tampa was handed a 6-3 loss Sunday in New Jersey, as the Devils rallied for the shocking victory with five goals in the third period. On Friday, the Lightning hosted the Devils and New Jersey scored four times in the first period en route to a 5-2 win at St. Pete Times Forum.

"We made in the first period [tonight], the mistakes that we made in the third period [in Newark]," said Tampa Bay head coach Guy Boucher.

Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis scored for the Lightning, who, despite the shutout this week against Washington, have surrendered 20 goals in their last five games.

Dwayne Roloson was pulled after allowing four goals on nine shots in the first period. Dan Ellis stopped 15 shots the rest of the way.

The Lightning are 13-10-3 as the guest this year, but they have lost two of their last three on the road. Next up for Tampa is Tuesday's home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Tampa and the Hurricanes have met for just one of their six matchups so far this season and the Lightning notched an easy 5-1 victory in that encounter at St. Pete Times Forum on Dec. 20. St. Louis led the way for Tampa in that contest with a goal and two assists and the diminutive winger has amassed 60 points (32 goals, 28 assists) in 57 career games against Carolina.

The Lightning have taken four of six overall in this series, but Tampa has been defeated in 12 of its last 17 trips to Raleigh.

The Hurricanes, who are fourth in the Southeast and nine points behind Tampa, had a three-game winning streak snapped in Thursday's road test in Buffalo. Ryan Miller made 27 saves to help the Sabres hang on for the 3-2 regulation win at HSBC Arena.

Jeff Skinner scored in the final minute to get the Hurricanes within a goal, but they were unable to net the equalizer. Tuomo Ruutu also lit the lamp for Carolina, while Cam Ward stopped 32-of-35 shots.

"It's never an easy game when you come into Buffalo," Ward said. "They're a solid team and tonight could have gone either way; we just came up short."

Eric Staal recorded an assist in Thursday's loss, giving Carolina's captain a point in seven straight games. Staal, who leads the 'Canes in goals (21) and points (43) this season, has three markers and four assists during his current tear.

Carolina is 10-7-2 as the host this year and has won two straight and three of its last four in Raleigh.

01/15 10:47:12 ET


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