NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, March 29th (All times eastern)
Carolina Hurricanes (42-30-6) at Tampa Bay Lightning (30-38-9), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes will try to do their part to clinch the Southeast Division tonight, as they visit the lowly Tampa Bay Lightning at St. Pete Times Forum.
The Hurricanes have 90 points and are four ahead of Washington for the division lead. Carolina, which is also third in the Eastern Conference standings, could secure the Southeast title tonight with a win and a regulation loss by Washington at Florida.
Carolina notched an easy win Friday night, as it pounded the visiting Atlanta Thrashers by a 7-1 count. Tuomo Ruutu and Jeff Hamilton each scored twice and Eric Staal had a goal and two assists to lift the Hurricanes to the blowout at RBC Center.
Carolina finished the night with five power-play goals, tying a franchise record.
Joe Corvo and Trevor Letowski each tallied and had a helper, while Cam Ward made 25 saves for the Hurricanes, who have won four of five and nine of their last 11 games.
Tonight marks the first of two straight on the road for the Hurricanes, who will then close out the regular season on a two-game homestand. Carolina is 19-18-2 as the visitors this year and has won four of five and five of its last seven road tests.
The Lightning have been eliminated from the playoffs and are not relishing in their spoiler role, as they've dropped four of five and nine of their last 13 games.
Tampa Bay comes into today's action with 69 points and is tied with Los Angeles for last place in the NHL.
The Bolts' latest setback came Thursday in a close game with visiting Washington. Brooks Laich notched a goal and an assist, and Tomas Fleischmann scored the game-winner 2:27 into overtime as the Capitals pulled out the 4-3 win at the Forum.
Laich took advantage of a scramble around the net, picked up the loose puck and tipped it to Fleischmann, who buried a shot past Karri Ramo to win the game for Washington.
Michel Ouellet had a goal and an assist for the Lightning. Jeff Halpern and Alexandre Picard also scored, while Ramo allowed four goals on 32 shots.
Tonight is the third segment of a four-game homestand for the Lightning, which will end the residency and close out their home schedule Monday against Atlanta.
Tampa Bay is 19-17-3 as the hosts this year and has taken three of four and four of its last six home tilts.
The Hurricanes and Lightning have split six encounters this year, but Tampa Bay has taken seven of 10 and eight of the last 13 meetings. Carolina has also dropped four of six and eight of its previous 11 road tests against the Lightning.
The clubs will complete the season series in Raleigh on April 2.
03/29 10:49:40 ET