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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Saturday, January 20th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (25-22-2) at Carolina Hurricanes (25-19-5), 8:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - A pair of Southeast Division contenders will get together this evening at Raleigh's RBC Center, where the Carolina Hurricanes host the surging Tampa Bay Lightning in a matchup between the last two Stanley Cup winners.

The Lightning enter the showdown as the hotter club, as Tampa Bay has won six of its last seven games and just handed Atlantic Division leader New Jersey a 3-2 defeat in the Meadowlands on Thursday.

Brad Richards had a big night for Tampa Bay, netting both of the team's regulation goals and then recording the game-winner in the shootout. Johan Holmqvist stopped all three New Jersey skaters during the deciding phase and made 26 saves over the first 65 minutes.

Martin St. Louis assisted on Richards' second tally to extend his point streak to 13 games, the longest by any NHL player this season. The All-Star forward, who has six goals and 12 helpers during the run, also has notched an assist in a career-best 11 consecutive games.

St. Louis has also had a point in 16 straight road contests, the longest such streak in the NHL since Eric Lindros put together a 16-game away tear with Philadelphia during the 1995-96 campaign.

Thursday's victory was Tampa Bay's fourth in a row on the road. The Lightning are a solid 13-10-2 as the visitor this season.

Carolina has lost two of its last three outings and now leads Tampa Bay by only three points for second place in the Southeast. The Hurricanes started off a three-game homestand on a down note, dropping a 5-2 decision to Washington on Thursday.

Erik Cole and Eric Staal had the goals for Carolina, which fell despite outshooting the Capitals by a 36-30 margin. John Grahame stopped 25 of the 28 chances he faced in the setback.

Ray Whitney had an assist for the Hurricanes and now has amassed two goals and six helpers during a personal six-game point streak.

Carolina, which is 13-8-2 at the RBC Center but has lost two straight at home, will conclude the residency following the All-Star break with a rematch against Washington on Friday.

The Hurricanes have taken five of their last seven encounters with Tampa Bay, including three of four matchups this season. The Lightning have also lost four in a row in Raleigh.

01/20 10:52:39 ET

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