Lightning at Hurricanes
Many experts picked the Carolina Hurricanes to win the Southeast Division after acquiring Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin to give their offense a boost. After a disappointing first game on the road, the Hurricanes look to get on track when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning in their home opener Tuesday. The Florida Panthers scored three power-play goals in the first period to beat visiting Carolina 5-1 on Saturday, even though the Hurricanes registered 42 shots on net. Goaltender Cam Ward, pulled after one period in the opener, is expected back in goal. The Lightning must also rebound from a rough start in their second game, falling behind four goals before losing 4-3 at the New York Islanders on Monday. Tampa Bay returns to the ice a little over 24 hours later, needing to take fewer penalties and win puck races against the speedy Hurricanes.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, SunSports (Tampa), SportSouth (Carolina)
ABOUT THE LIGHTNING (1-1): Tampa Bay gave the Islanders seven power-play chances Monday, allowing one goal. The Lightning looked good on the kill, but never got into a rhythm until scoring three times in a 5:38 span during the third period. Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and rookie Cory Conacher each had two points after being put together in the final 20 minutes. St. Louis has five points (three goals) in the first two contests. Captain Vincent Lecavalier was shut out in his 1,000th NHL game. Anders Lindback stopped 67 of 74 shots (.905 save percentage) in the first two games, but Mathieu Garon could go against Carolina.
ABOUT THE HURRICANES (0-1): Staal and Semin combined for three shots on goal and zero points in the opener, still adjusting to their new surroundings. Semin will like seeing the Lightning, who he has torched for 23 goals and 43 points in 39 career games. Eric Staal, Jordan’s older brother, has also put up good numbers against Tampa Bay – 29 goals and 31 assists in 53 games. Crafty forward Jeff Skinner has eight goals in 10 games against the Lightning. The Hurricanes will expect a lot out of young defensemen Justin Faulk and Bobby Sanguinetti. Ward gave up four goals on 12 shots against Florida.
1. The teams split six games last season. Carolina earned one more point with an overtime loss.
2. Ward is 19-13-3 with an .898 save percentage against Tampa Bay.
3. Lecavalier is the fifth player who was picked first overall to play 1,000 career games for the team that drafted him.