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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, October 26th (All times eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (4-4-2) at Tampa Bay Lightning (4-4-0), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning shoot for their third straight win this evening when they host the Carolina Hurricanes in the opener of a home- and-home series at St. Pete Times Forum.

Tampa Bay made it two in a row with Saturday's 6-4 win over the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center. Nikita Alexeev scored a pair of goals and extended his points streak to a career-high five games to lead the Lightning.

Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Andreas Karlsson and Brad Richards also scored for the Lightning, who have won three of their last four games and notched a season high in goals. Lightning goaltender Marc Denis stopped 29 of the 33 shots he faced.

Tampa Bay played well without leading scorer Ryan Craig, who is expected to miss the next four weeks with a sprained right knee.

Meanwhile, the defending-champion Hurricanes ended a two-game losing streak with Wednesday's 5-4 overtime win against the Atlanta Thrashers at the RBC Center.

Anton Babchuk scored 1:11 into the extra session and Justin Williams assisted on the goal for Carolina, which won for the fourth time in six games. Eric Staal and Andrew Hutchinson each had a goal and an assist, while Canes goaltender Cam Ward stopped 32 shots to preserve the victory.

Carolina is 1-0 against the Lighting this season after posting a 5-1 win on October 16 at St. Pete Times Forum. Williams led the way with his first career hat trick and an assist, while Rod Brind'Amour added a goal and two assists.

The Hurricanes have won three of the last four meetings, but have dropped eight of 10 and 11 of their last 15 at Tampa Bay.

10/26 10:26:23 ET

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