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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, March 1st (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (26-31-7) at Carolina Hurricanes (33-29-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes will wrap their season-long six- game homestand tonight when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning at RBC Center.

The Hurricanes are 3-1-1 so far on the trip, but were handed a loss last time out. Chris Drury scored a goal to extend his point streak to seven games, as the New York Rangers defeated Carolina, 4-2.

Carolina fell behind 3-0 before Erik Cole scored the first of his two goals in the game. Bret Hedican and Patrick Eaves picked up an assist each and Cam Ward allowed four goals on 28 shots for the Hurricanes, who had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Eaves picked up his first point in two games in a Carolina uniform. He was traded to the Hurricanes from the Senators on February 11, but he had missed his last six games with Ottawa due to shoulder and neck injuries.

Eaves then missed his first seven games with the Hurricanes before coming off injured reserve.

On the milestone front, defenseman Glen Wesley is one game shy of 900 games played with the Hurricanes franchise, a feat he should accomplish tonight.

Carolina leads Washington by three points for first place in the Southeast Division. The Hurricanes are 18-12-3 as the host club this year and have earned at least a point in eight of their last nine (7-1-1) at home.

Tampa Bay snapped a five-game losing streak with a close win last night. Dan Boyle scored the game-winner on the power play with 2:58 left in overtime as the Lightning survived a game in which they gave up a two-goal lead to top the Toronto Maple Leafs, 3-2.

With Toronto's Pavel Kubina in the penalty box after being called for holding the stick, Boyle took a pass from Vincent Lecavalier and blasted a shot from the slot that was blocked by Ian White. But, the puck bounced directly onto Boyle's stick, and he unloaded a slap shot that blew past Vesa Toskala.

Boyle also added a pair of assists, Michel Ouellet scored in his third straight game and Alexandre Picard -- acquired Monday in the deal that sent Vaclav Prospal to Philadelphia -- also lit the lamp for the Lightning. Mike Smith made 23 saves and Lecavalier contributed a pair of helpers to give him 80 points on the season, good for third best in the league.

Tampa Bay head coach John Tortorella posted his 234th career win, tying him with Bob Johnson for most all-time by an American-born coach.

The Lightning will play four of their next five on the road starting tonight. Tampa has dropped three of its last four as the visitor and is 10-15-5 on the road this year.

Tampa Bay is 3-2-0 against Carolina this season and has taken seven of nine and eight of its last 12 against the Hurricanes. The Lightning had won their last four in Carolina before the "Canes posted a 4-3 home win on November 23.

Lecavalier has six goals and five assists against Carolina this season.

03/01 10:31:22 ET


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