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Friday, April 14th (All times eastern)

Tampa Bay Lightning (42-32-5) at Carolina Hurricanes (51-21-7), 7 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning hope to come a step closer to securing a postseason berth tonight when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC Center in the opener of a home-and-home.

With 89 points, the Bolts are eighth in the Eastern Conference -- four behind seventh-place Montreal. Tampa is two points ahead of No. 9 Atlanta, which has three games remaining.

The Lightning have lost their last two games, including Tuesday's 6-2 loss to visiting Atlanta. Bobby Holik and Andy Sutton each scored a pair of goals to lift the Thrashers.

Martin St. Louis and Dimitry Afanasenkov scored for Tampa Bay in the loss.

Sean Burke started in net but allowed five goals on 14 shots faced for the Lightning, who had an eight-game home winning streak halted. Tampa Bay won three straight games before its current slide.

The Lightning will host the Hurricanes on Saturday night, before finishing the regular season Tuesday against visiting Washington.

Carolina, meanwhile, has also dropped its last two matches. On Tuesday the Canes lost a 4-3 overtime decision to visiting New Jersey, as Brian Gionta scored just 28 seconds into OT to lift the Devils.

Craig Adams, Mark Recchi and Eric Staal each scored for the Hurricanes, while netminder Martin Gerber stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced.

The Hurricanes, with 109 points, trail Ottawa by two in the race for the top overall spot in the Eastern Conference

After visiting the Bolts on Saturday, the Canes will host Buffalo on Tuesday to close out their regular season slate.

Tampa Bay is 4-2 against Carolina this season, and 10-3-4 (3 losses, 4 ties) in the last 17 meetings overall.

04/14 10:15:31 ET


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