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GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning

Friday, 01.19.2007 / 7:16 PM ET / News
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GAME NOTES: Carolina Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
HURRICANES LOOK TO MOVE ON, FINISH STRONG

How tight is the race near the top of the Southeast Division right now?

Before last Saturday's loss against Atlanta, Carolina was the hunter. They could have moved within two points of the division lead with a win that night. Now, after picking up a respectable three out of a possible six points this week, all of the sudden Carolina is the hunted.

That's because the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have won six out of their last seven games, could move within one point of catching Carolina with a win this Saturday (8:30 p.m., Hurricanes Radio Network). In order to catch up who they are chasing, the Hurricanes must first fend off those who are chasing them.

"It's a big game against Tampa," said Hurricanes winger Cory Stillman. "They're chasing us. It becomes a one point or a five point lead that we have on them that night, so it's important to go into the break with the biggest lead that we can."

Before Saturday's game, the Hurricanes must first put Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Washington Capitals behind them. Despite briefly showing signs of a trademark third-period comeback, Carolina never really controlled the game the way they would have liked. Although the final score is flattering to the Capitals, who scored two empty-net goals at the end of the game, that doesn't take away any of the sting for Head Coach Peter Laviolette.

"I'm irritated. I hope we're all a little bit irritated, because we weren't very good last night," he said. "Anybody that goes home and sleeps well and is in a great mood, they're not getting the point from last night."

Laviolette tried to get the point home through a relatively tough practice on Friday. Although there were pucks involved, contrary to what some had predicted, there were also plenty of push-ups for those who didn't execute the way their coach would like.

"We didn't backcheck very well, we didn't cycle the puck very well, we didn't skate very well, so we tried to emphasize things we need to do better," said Laviolette. "And obviously, we didn't play defense very well," he added.

Saturday's game is the last one before next week's All-Star break, during which the team has almost entire week off. It's safe to say the team, which has put an emphasis on finishing strong before the break, won't want another bad result hanging over their heads while they enjoy their time off with their families.

Winning tomorrow night, which will help the team distance themselves from Tampa Bay and catch Atlanta at the same time, would go a long way in erasing last game's painful memories and making sure the Hurricanes have a happy holiday.

Laviolette, for one, is eager to move on.

"That game was awful, there's nothing else to say," he said. "We wake up today, we've got a game tomorrow, and it's an important game. Tampa Bay is right on our [butts], so we've got to be ready to play. I can't wait for the game."

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning
Saturday, Jan. 20, 8:30 p.m. (ET)
RBC Center * Raleigh, NC
Hurricanes: 25-19-5 (55 pts.) 2nd Southeast Division
Lightning:
25-22-7 (52 pts.), 3rd Southeast Division

TOMORROW’S GAME
The Carolina Hurricanes play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday (8:30 p.m., Hurricanes Radio Network) in both teams’ final game before the NHL All-Star break. It’s the second game in a three-game home stand for Carolina, and the Hurricanes’ fifth of seven consecutive games against Southeast Division opponents. Following the All-Star break, the Hurricanes will have a back-to-back, home-and-home series to wrap up their seven-game stretch against Southeast Division opponents. Carolina has earned points in five of its last six games, going 4-1-1 against the New York Islanders, at Toronto, against Florida, against Atlanta, at Florida and against Washington, with the lone regulation loss coming 5-2 against the Capitals on Thursday.

MORNING SKATES: While ice will be available at 10:30 a.m. at the RecZone on Saturday morning, neither team is expected to conduct a morning skate. The Hurricanes typical pre-game media access will take place at 6:30 p.m.

MILESTONE WATCH

  • Right wing Justin Williams scored his 100th NHL goal, Jan. 13 vs. Atlanta
  • Winger Erik Cole is one goal shy of 100 for his NHL/Hurricanes career
  • Center Eric Belanger is one assist shy of 100 for his NHL career
  • Defenseman David Tanabe will play his 400th NHL game with his next game played

CURRENT STREAKS

  • Left wing Ray Whitney has points in six straight games (1/6-1/18: 2g, 6a)
  • Winger Erik Cole has earned points in four straight games (1/11-1/18: 3g, 4a)

Television: No Carolina telecast (Tampa Bay's Sun Sports telecast available via NHL CenterIce)
Radio: Hurricanes Radio Network – WWMY 102.9 FM (Raleigh – flagship), Pirate Radio – WGHB 1250 AM and WDLX 930 AM (Greenville, NC… check listings for games), News Talk Radio WFNC 640 AM (Fayetteville, NC… Saturdays and Sundays)
Internet: www.nhl.com, www.CarolinaHurricanes.com

CAROLINA NOTES

  • The Hurricanes’ are in the midst of seven straight games against Southeast Division opponents. Carolina currently posts a 12-4-1 record against Southeast Division foes after going 18-11-3 against the division in 2005-06.

  • The Hurricanes have gone 8-1-1 in their last nine games against division opponents, with the lone regulation loss being Thursday’s 5-2 loss to Washington. That loss also marked Carolina’s lone regulation loss to a divisional opponent at home this season.

  • Carolina has not won four games in a season against Tampa Bay since 1996-97. The Hurricanes are currently 3-1-0 in the first four games of their eight-game season series against the Lightning this season.

  • The Hurricanes’ power play is 20-for-96 (20.8%) with left wing Cory Stillman in the lineup, and 26-for-187 (13.9%) without him.

  • This season, Carolina’s penalty kill has gone 197-for-228 (86.4%) in 45 games with Rod Brind’Amour in the lineup and went 17-for-27 (63.0%) in the four games Brind’Amour missed in December.

CAROLINA AT HOME: 13-8-2
CAROLINA ON THE ROAD: 12-11-3
CAROLINA ON THE POWER PLAY: 46-of-283 (16.2%)
CAROLINA SHORTHANDED: 215-of-256 (84.0%)

INJURY REPORT

  • Defenseman Bret Hedican, illness/finger surgery, injured reserve, out 3-4 weeks, missed 8 games
  • Defenseman Tim Gleason, broken foot, injured reserve, out one month, missed 12 games
  • Defenseman Frantisek Kaberle, shoulder, out, missed 49 games

HURRICANES PRACTICE SCHEDULE

DECEMBER
Practice Type
Time
Location
Sat., Jan. 20
Pregame Skate
TBD
RecZone, Raleigh
Jan. 21-24
Off (All-Star Break)
Thurs., Jan. 25
Team Practice
5:00 p.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Fri., Jan. 26
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Sat., Jan. 27
Pregame Skate
11:20 a.m.
Verizon Center, Washington
Sun., Jan. 28
Off
Mon., Jan. 29
Team Practice
11:00 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Tues., Jan. 30
Pregame Skate
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh
Wed., Jan. 31
Team Practice
10:30 a.m.
RBC Center, Raleigh

*All times are local… Times and locations subject to change

AGAINST THE LIGHTNING

Saturday marks the fifth of eight meetings this season between the Hurricanes and the Lightning. The Hurricanes have gone 3-1-0 in their four previous games against Tampa Bay this season, scoring wins at St. Pete Times Forum on Oct. 16 (5-1) and Dec. 16 (3-2), and a home win on Oct. 28 (6-4). The Lightning’s lone win against the Hurricanes this season came on Oct. 26 in Tampa, 5-1. Justin Williams’ earned his first career hat trick in Carolina’s 6-4 win on Oct. 28.

Last season, the Hurricanes posted a 3-3-2 record against the Lightning, taking three of the teams’ four meetings at the RBC Center, and losing all four games at St. Pete Times Forum, two in overtime. Eric Staal (4g, 5a) and Cory Stillman (4g, 5a), led the Hurricanes with nine points each in the eight-game series last year, while Brad Richards (4g, 9a) led Tampa Bay with 13 points. The Hurricanes post a 30-22-12-1 all-time record against the Lightning, including a 19-5-7-1 home record and a 11-17-5 mark along the Gulf Coast.

SCORING LEADERS AND GOALTENDERS

CAROLINA HURRICANES
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Skaters
GP
G
A
PTS
Whitney
49
18
34
52
Brind'Amour
45
13
39
52
Cole
49
21
24
45
Skaters
GP
G
A
PTS
St. Louis
49
29
35
64
Lecavalier
49
29
34
63
Richards
49
18
24
42
Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
Ward
37
2.77
20-12-4
.903
Grahame
14
3.07
5-7-1
.895
Goaltenders
GP
GAA
W-L
SV %
Denis
28
3.10
10-13-2
.881
Holmqvist
25
2.84
15-9-0
.893

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72