National Hockey League
Hurricanes-Lightning Preview
National Hockey League

Hurricanes-Lightning Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 12:52 p.m. ET

Rolling along, the Tampa Bay Lightning are in position to make some franchise history.

They can sweep the season series from the visiting Carolina Hurricanes with a club-record ninth consecutive victory Saturday night.

Though Tampa Bay (38-22-4) has been unbeatable over the last two weeks, its surge goes back to early January. Winners in 19 of 24, the Lightning share the Atlantic Division lead with Florida and currently own the tiebreaker.

They matched the team mark set during their 2003-04 Stanley Cup-winning season with an eighth straight victory Thursday, 4-1 at Ottawa.


"We've put ourselves in a good spot for the rest of the way," defenseman Victor Hedman said. "We want to keep winning hockey games. We're on a good roll right now and that's got to keep going."

While Tampa Bay has scored at least four goals six times in the eight games, it has yielded only eight in the last seven while killing all 21 penalties. Ben Bishop has a 1.20 goals-against average and .962 save percentage while winning his last five starts - all on the road.

"I am playing pretty well right now, obviously," said Bishop, who leads the NHL with a career-low 2.04 GAA. "Right now things are going well but it's a long season and there are ups and downs. Right now it's an up, but you just try to enjoy it while it's there."

Bishop hasn't enjoyed things of late at home, where he's lost his last two starts and most recently allowed four goals against San Jose on Feb. 16. He has an .893 save percentage in his last four at Amalie Arena.

However, Bishop is 6-1-0 with a 1.72 GAA against Carolina and made 29 saves in a 4-2 road victory Feb. 21.

Steven Stamkos has a goal in both of Tampa Bay's games against the Hurricanes this season - two road wins - and seven during the eight-game winning streak.

Carolina (29-26-10) hasn't played since snapping a three-game slide with Tuesday's 3-1 victory over New Jersey. It was a needed win for a club that's 11th in the Eastern Conference, six points out of the final wild-card spot and still dealing with captain Eric Staal, Kris Versteeg and fellow veteran John Michael-Liles being traded prior to Monday's deadline.

"It's been quiet around our room a little bit, quieter than usual," coach Bill Peters told the Hurricanes' official website. "We'll snap out of it. A lot of good things (happened Tuesday)."

Carolina certainly received a jolt from forward Derek Ryan scoring in his NHL debut. The 29-year-old Ryan, called up from Charlotte of the AHL on Monday, played for Peters in Spokane of the WHL 10 years ago.

"Pretty unbelievable, no question," Ryan said. "Just an awesome, emotional day. Playing in my first NHL game and for that to happen is icing on the cake. I just can't really put it into words."

Eddie Lack made 29 saves in his first action since Feb. 18.

He could make a second straight start in place of Cam Ward, who has a 3.77 GAA while losing his last three. Ward yielded seven goals in two against the Lightning this season and has a 3.07 GAA during a five-game losing streak against them.

Lack is 0-3-0 with a 4.15 GAA against the Lightning but last faced them in October 2014.

Carolina's Jeff Skinner has a team-high 22 goals but two in the last 15 road games and none in his last 10 overall against Tampa Bay.

The Lightning have won 11 of the past 13 meetings.


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