The Carolina Hurricanes weren’t pleased with their latest game. Visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning could help them feel better.
The Hurricanes will try to earn a third straight road win over their Southeast Division rivals and add to the Lightning’s longest home losing streak in four seasons Saturday night.
Carolina (15-10-1) has won six of eight but couldn’t take advantage of an early lead in a 3-2 home defeat to Washington on Thursday. Alexander Semin and Patrick Dwyer scored in the first 8:17, but the Hurricanes couldn’t find the net again despite posting a 38-25 shot advantage – 15-8 in the final period.
“We can’t be happy,” coach Kirk Muller said. “We had a really well-executed first period. A lot of really good things. We let them back in during the second period. We got away from it.
“We had long shifts, turnovers, stopped shooting the puck, and these are things that we have to learn from.”
Carolina will try to do that while earning a season-high third straight road victory. The Hurricanes are 8-4-1 away from home.
They’re also 7-2-1 in their last 10 road games and would appear to be visiting Tampa at an opportune time. The Lightning have suffered five straight regulation losses at home and are 2-8-0 in their last 10 overall.
Tampa Bay has been outscored 14-7 during its longest home skid since an 0-3-3 stretch March 3-21, 2009. The Lightning were shut out for the first time this season Thursday, 2-0 by the New York Islanders.
“It’s just a weird thing,” coach Guy Boucher said. “We’re scoring tons of goals and we’re not defending well. All of a sudden, now we’re defending well and we’re not scoring goals. It’s flip-flop, flip-flop. It’s hard to take. The story of our year, we can’t get everything together on the same day.”
Boucher’s team has gotten a strong enough effort to beat Carolina in the two matchups this season, but both were on the road. The Hurricanes won in each of their final two trips to Tampa in 2011-12.
Vincent Lecavalier being out probably won’t help as Tampa Bay tries to get on track offensively and avoid another home loss to Carolina. The veteran center is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a lower-body injury in a 3-2 win at Florida on Tuesday.
Lecavalier had a goal and an assist in that contest to give him seven goals and 15 assists on the season.
Another forward, Benoit Pouliot, will also likely sit out again because of a shoulder injury, though center Tom Pyatt might return.
Mathieu Garon could be in net for Tampa Bay, as his only two wins this season have come against Carolina. He allowed three total goals in those starts.
With top goaltender Cam Ward out at least five weeks due to a knee injury, the Hurricanes have been relying on Justin Peters and Dan Ellis. After Ellis failed to get a win last time out, Carolina could give Peters a chance to build on his second career shutout, 4-0 at Washington on Tuesday.
Peters gave up five goals in his only game against Tampa Bay on Dec. 20, 2010, and Ellis has gone 0-2-1 with a 3.65 goals-against average in three all-time matchups, the most recent a 5-2 defeat Feb. 23.