The Carolina Hurricanes are gearing up to meet Southeast Division rivals the Tampa Bay Lightning this evening in their third meeting of the season, but the first down in Florida. Right now, Tampa Bay has been running the table in their meetings and the series is 2-0 Bolts. But the winds of change may be blowing for the ‘canes.
The stretches of the last 10 games for both teams are basically the polar opposites of one another. Carolina has a respectable 7-3-0, but Tampa Bay is floundering and has a 2-8-0 to their names. However, Carolina lost their most recent game, watching a 2-0 lead fizzle against the Washington Capitals and morph into a 3-2 loss. By comparison, though, the Bolts would have liked to score at least one goal in their most recent game, a 2-0 loss against the New York Islanders.
In this match, the Hurricanes are looking to start strong, stay strong and hold their consistency. Eric Staal admitted, from the captain’s perch, that his team didn’t come out ready to compete, but the scrappy Capitals did.
Maybe tonight, the forecast is different for the Hurricanes as they face the other team named for a weather phenomenon. Alexander Semin, who has been performing at an intense clip lately–to the tune of at least one point scored in every Carolina game this month save for one, plus he’s on a three-game point streak right now–has a great record against the Lightning in the past. Namely, he’s got 23 goals and 21 helpers in 41 games against this fellow Southeast team.
The elder Staal is another productive stick against the Bolts: 29 goals, 31 assists, 55 games. Also, Tuomo Ruutu may be back in the lineup sooner than expected because he’ll be going down to Florida with the team.
The two weather teams will get the storm going tonight at 7 p.m.