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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, December 6th (All times eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (15-10-3) at Tampa Bay Lightning (12-13-2), 7:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to continue another upward swing when they welcome the Carolina Hurricanes for tonight's Southeast Division battle at St. Pete Times Forum.

The Lightning have been on a roller coaster ride of sorts for over a month, as they've been extremely hot-and-cold. Tampa Bay struggled through a six-game losing streak, then won five straight before falling victim to another six- game slide.

Tampa has begun to change its fortunes again, as it has won two in a row with home wins over Boston and Ottawa. In fact the Bolts' level of success this season has been directly related to whether they play at home or on the road.

The Lightning are 10-3-1 as the hosts this year and just 2-10-1 on the road. They will close out their current four-game homestand Saturday evening against the New York Islanders.

The most recent victory for Tampa came in Tuesday's dramatic win over the Senators. Vaclav Prospal was credited with the game-winning goal in the shootout, as the Lightning escaped a late rally by Ottawa and defeated the slumping Senators, 4-3, at St. Pete Times Forum.

Mathieu Darche, Chris Gratton and Filip Kuba scored in regulation for Tampa Bay. Martin St. Louis posted two assists and Johan Holmqvist made 26 saves in the victory.

Carolina also experienced some highs and lows over its last two games, as the team was slammed in Buffalo by an 8-1 count on Saturday before blanking the New York Rangers, 4-0, in Monday's test at Madison Square Garden.

Cam Ward made 28 saves and Cory Stillman notched a pair of goals in the Hurricanes' rout of the Rangers. Ward earned his second shutout of the season - and the fourth of his career - by stifling the Rangers on each of their four power-play opportunities.

Stillman scored the final goal of the night just minutes after receiving credit for the Hurricanes' second tally, originally attributed to Matt Cullen. Scott Walker and Daniel Tanabe also scored, while Justin Williams recorded a pair of assists to eclipse the 300-point mark for his career.

Cullen assisted twice as well for Carolina, which won for just the second time in five games.

The Hurricanes, who are 7-5-2 as the visiting team this year, are playing the third test of a five-game road trip tonight. Carolina will complete the trek with stops in Montreal and Detroit.

The Lightning are 2-1 against Carolina this season and have won seven of the last 10 meetings with the Hurricanes. Tampa Bay has also taken seven of its previous nine home matchups with Carolina.

12/06 10:43:18 ET

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