Tampa Bay Lightning (5-4-2; 12 points) at Carolina Hurricanes (4-3-3; 11 points)
The Carolina Hurricanes look to bounce back not only from their rough outing against the Flyers Saturday night, they look to finally get revenge on the Tampa Bay Lightning who has ran all over them in the past.
The first month of the season is over and Eric Staal is still without an even strength goal on the season. But the Canes poweplay is not the only problem. Inconsistency is the biggest issue. The defense played their greatest game of the season against the Blackhawks Friday night, and followed it up by playing the worst game of the season in Philadelphia.
Carolina is still also looking to gain revenge against Tampa Bay. The Hurricanes only needed a win on the last game of the season to go to the playoffs last season and they were manhandled by Tampa Bay in a 6-2 loss. As they tried to mount revenge on the first game of the season the Hurricanes were beaten once again 5-1.
Martin St. Louis is riding a huge hot streak against the Hurricanes. In his past seven games against the Hurricanes, St. Louis has four goals and ten assists, 14 points and a plus/minus of +9. That’s pretty impressive. Tim Gleason is one of the few bright spots on defense for the Hurricanes. He is currently ranked 3rd in the NHL in plus/minus with a +7.
Cam Ward has not been hot against the Lightning his past two outings. He has a save percentage of .866 and a Goals Against Average of 4.55. Along with Staal’s horrible plus/minus this season, his past two games against the Lightning he is -6. If anybody on the Hurricanes needs to step it up, Eric Staal would be that person.
The Canes started last October 5-5 spending a majority of the time on the road that first month. However its a new season and a new year. The Hurricanes will need to step it up on defense, powerplay and on the score sheets or there may be some more new faces on this Hurricanes roster, including coaching staff.
You can follow Sterling Eby on Twitter @TheSterlo