NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, April 2nd (All times eastern)
Tampa Bay Lightning (31-39-9) at Carolina Hurricanes (42-32-6), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes will try to bounce back from a damaging loss when they welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning for tonight's test at the RBC Center.
The Hurricanes played in Washington on Tuesday and allowed the Capitals to draw even in the Southeast Division race with a 4-1 victory. Carolina and Washington are tied at 90 points and each have two games left, although the Capitals are idle tonight.
Carolina is currently still in first place as a result of having one more win than Washington. It is very possible that the second-place team in the Southeast Division will miss the playoffs.
Alexander Ovechkin notched his 63rd goal of the season to help the Capitals notch the crucial home win over Carolina. Matt Cooke, Brooks Laich and Alexander Semin also tallied for the Caps, who have won five straight and nine of 10.
Scott Walker scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes, who have two straight and three of their last four games. Cam Ward allowed four goals on 39 shots in the loss.
Carolina could have clinched the division title with a regulation win.
The Hurricanes will get to close out their regular season on a two-game homestand and will wrap up their schedule Friday against Florida. Carolina is 23-12-4 as the hosts this year and has won five of six and eight of its last 10 tests in Raleigh.
Meanwhile, the Lightning are last in the Eastern Conference with just 71 points and have lost five of their last seven outings.
Tampa Bay was last in action against visiting Atlanta on Monday and was dealt a 2-0 setback as Ilya Kovalchuk scored a pair of third-period goals to lift the Thrashers at St. Pete Times Forum.
Mike Smith stopped 22-of-23 shots in the loss for the Lightning, who are out of the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
Tampa played its last home game of the year on Monday and is closing out the regular season on a three-game road trip. The Lightning have a dreadful 11-21-6 mark as the visiting team this year and have dropped nine of 10 and 10 of their last 12 away tests.
The Lightning hold a slight advantage in the season series with Carolina, as they've posted a 4-3 record. Tampa Bay has won eight of 11 overall against the Hurricanes, but has dropped two straight and six of its previous 10 stops in Raleigh.
04/02 10:45:05 ET