It’s a showdown of teams from the revamped Central Division on the ice in the Sunshine State. The Carolina Hurricanes are on the road as they make the trip to face the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday afternoon. This game closes a three-game, two-city series between the teams. Carolina opened the set with a 4-0 victory on Saturday night in a game that was thrown together at the last minute. Tampa Bay squared things up with a 4-2 victory on the road Monday night in the most recent contest for both teams. The Hurricanes have taken two of the three meetings this season: will the Lightning square things up with a victory here?
Carolina Hurricanes Seek to Bounce BackCarolina had gone 5-0-1 in their previous six games but was doubled up by Tampa Bay Monday night in their latest contest. The Hurricanes entered Tuesday second in the Central Division, one point behind Florida for the top spot and three points ahead of fifth-place Columbus to stay on the right side of the playoff cut line. Carolina enters this one 4th in the league in scoring with 3.59 goals per game. The Hurricanes are tied for 13th in goals against as they allow 2.76 goals a night. Carolina is 7th in the league in power play success as they cash in on 29.1% of their chances with the man advantage on the year. The Hurricanes stand tied for 12th in the league in penalty killing as they successfully get through 80% of their shorthanded situations this season.
Jesper has arrived pic.twitter.com/DeshInZ4a4— Carolina Hurricanes (@Canes) February 23, 2021
On Monday, Carolina got the early lead but couldn’t maintain that momentum as they ended up on the wrong end of the scoreboard. The opening period saw the Hurricanes outshot 11-7 in the stanza but took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room. Jesper Fast opened the scoring with his first of the year at 13:27 off assists from Martin Necas and Jake Bean. In the second period, the Hurricanes had a 12-11 edge in shots on goal but were outscored 2-1 to leave the game tied at two heading to the third period. After falling behind 2-1, Fast got his second of the game and the season, on the power play, at 19:15 off assists from Dougie Hamilton and Brett Pesce. The third period saw Carolina with a 17-10 edge in shots but they were outscored 2-0 to wind up with the defeat. James Reimer made 28 saves for the Hurricanes in the loss as they held a 36-32 edge in shots on goal. Alex Nedeljkovic is expected to get the start in goal for this contest.
Tampa Bay Lightning Hoping to Win Rubber Game of SeriesTampa Bay bounced back from their defeat on Saturday night to prevail on the road Monday night to even the series. They look to prevail here in the rubber game of their three-game, two-city set. The Lightning entered Tuesday third in the Central Division, three points behind Florida for the top spot and three points ahead of fifth-place Columbus. Tampa Bay stands first in the league in goals for as they average 3.63 goals per contest this season. The Lightning are fifth in the league in goals against as they allow only 2.38 goals per game on the year. Tampa Bay is 10th in power play success as they convert 25.5% of their opportunities with the man advantage this year. The Lightning are sixth in penalty killing as they successfully navigate through 85.2% of their shorthanded situations on the year.
Against the Hurricanes Monday, the Lightning got off to a sluggish start but regrouped to get the victory. Tampa Bay held an 11-7 shot advantage in the first period of play and trailed 1-0 on the scoreboard after 20 minutes of play. In the second period, the Lightning were outshot 12-11 but held a 2-1 edge on the scoreboard to tie the game at two after 40 minutes of action. Steven Stamkos tied the game with his ninth goal of the year, on the power play, at 2:26 with the assists going to Ondrej Palat and Victor Hedman. Later in the period, Hedman gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 edge with his fourth of the year off assists from Mikhail Sergachev and Stamkos at the 7:12 mark. Carolina evened the score in the final minute of the period. In the third period, Tampa Bay was outshot 17-10 but outscored Carolina 2-0 to earn the win. Palat gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead with his seventh of the year at 8:04 off assists from Brayden Point and Jan Rutta. Alex Killorn closed the scoring with an empty net goal, his third of the season, at 19:20 with the lone assist going to Erik Cernak. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 34 saves in the win for Tampa Bay, who was outshot 36-32 in the game. He should be back between the pipes again for this contest.
The top trends for this contest are:
- Hurricanes are 0-5 in their last 5 Wednesday games
- Lightning are 5-0 in their last 5 in the second game of a home-and-home situation