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Friday, February 20th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (19-27-12) at Carolina Hurricanes (29-25-5), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Carolina Hurricanes shoot for their sixth straight win over the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight in a Southeast Division battle at RBC Center.

The two clubs split their eight-game series a season ago, with the Hurricanes winning the finale in April. This year, Carolina has posted four straight one- goal victories over Tampa Bay, winning twice in extra time. The 'Canes have won both meetings this year with the Lightning as the host, extending their home winning streak in the series to five games.

Tampa will host Carolina on March 7 to conclude this year's season set. The Hurricanes have already clinched their first season series win over the Lightning since the 2001-02 season.

Carolina's Joni Pitkanen has notched six of his 24 points this year versus the Lightning, notching a goal and five assists against them. However, he missed Thursday night's 6-2 win over the New York Islanders with an upper-body injury.

Eric Staal, who has a team-best three goals versus the Lightning this year, scored twice in last night's win, while Ray Whitney, Dennis Seidenberg and Anton Babchuk each registered a goal and an assist. Cam Ward picked up the win with a 22-save effort, leading Carolina to its second win in three games.

Ward has three wins versus the Lightning this year, with backup Michael Leighton also posting a victory.

Carolina, which placed two-time 30-goal scorer Justin Williams on injured reserve prior to the game due to a broken bone in his hand, will try to halt a three-game home losing streak tonight and is 14-13-1 as the host this year.

The 'Canes are three points out of a playoff spot and also host Colorado on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has lost eight of its last 10 and last night's 3-2 shootout loss to the New Jersey Devils closed a six-game homestand with a 2-3-1 mark.

Ryan Malone staked the Lightning to an early lead with a pair of first-period goals, but the Devils battled back and won it with Patrik Elias' deciding tally in the shootout. Tampa captain Vincent Lecavalier notched a pair of assists and Karri Ramo got the loss despite a 38-save performance.

The Lightning announced prior to last night's game that defenseman Paul Ranger and Andrej Meszaros will both undergo season-ending surgery on March 3. Ranger had two goals and 11 assists this season, while Meszaros notched a pair of tallies and 14 helpers.

Tampa Bay has lost four straight on the road and is 9-15-4 as the guest this season.

02/20 10:42:17 ET


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