It’s been another long hockey drought for the Tampa Bay Lightning this week. The Lightning last played Monday as they lost to the Florida Panthers 6-4.
The Lightning was scheduled to play in Dallas tonight, but the winter storm that hit Texas this week, caused many residents to be without power and water, and as a consequence, the games Thursday night and tonight to be rescheduled.
The Bolts had a game scheduled for Monday in Carolina. So the schedule was re-arranged, and the Lightning will now play a two-game series against the Canes beginning tonight.
The Hurricanes have been one of the top offensive teams in the NHL this season as they are averaging 3.67 goals a game which is good for third place.
At the quarter mark of the season, the Lightning is currently leading the league in scoring at 3.86 goals a game.
The Canes are middle of the pack defensively, giving up 2.87 goals a game, but Carolina has leaned on their offense this season as they have started 11-3-1. Carolina has 23 points and trails Florida by one point for the division lead.
The Lightning struggled in their three-game series against the Florida Panthers as Florida took two of three.
The Lightning allowed 11 goals in the two losses and was horrible in the defensive end. Andrei Vasilevskiy gave up five goals in a 5-2 loss, and Curtis McElhinney allowed six goals in the second loss.
Sandwiched in between the two losses was an impressive 6-1 win against the Panthers.
The Lightning had plenty of practice time this week, and according to Barclay Goodrow worked on correcting the sloppy play that led to the two losses. “I think we had some really good practices. I think throughout the last few games, we kind of have gotten away from the things that have made us successful in the games we have played well this season and even last year. I think this week was all about getting back to how we need to play and focusing on the things that we do well that help us win games.”
The Lightning has played the Canes just once this season, dropping a 1-0 overtime decision in Raleigh at the end of January.
Jon Cooper talked about the Carolina style of play. “The puck’s not on their stick long. They’re always getting pucks behind you. They want to really play the north game, and they’re good at it. It’s basically their identity. They just go, go, go, so if you’re not ready to skate, it’s going to be a long night.”
Tonight’s meeting will be the second of eight matchups with Carolina and the first of four in a row with the Hurricanes. After two Raleigh, the two teams will lace up the skates for two in Tampa next Wednesday and Thursday.