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Carolina Hurricanes vs. Tampa Bay Lightning Preview

JL Matthews

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Tampa Bay, FL -- The Carolina Hurricanes (29-10-5, 63pts) and the Tampa Bay Lightning (30-13-2, 62pts) square-off tonight for the final time in the regular season.

The two teams played extra hockey last night, with Tampa Bay beating Carolina by a score of 3-2 in overtime.

Questions about whether the two-game series between Carolina and Tampa Bay would have a playoff intensity were answered on Monday. The Lightning, for their part, brought plenty of physicality to the game. Cedric Paquette was bloodied up; Petr Mrazek was slashed on his recently-injured stick hand; Sebastian Aho drew a roughing penalty.

"They might have treated it like a playoff game; I don't think we did," Canes' head coach Rod Brind'Amour said after the game. "We need to up the ante if we want to get to a playoff-level type of game."

Most concerning for the Canes was the punishment doled out to Martin Necas. After an elbow to Necas' face was let go by officials earlier in the game, Necas was caught at top speed in the neutral zone by Alex Killorn during a powerplay entry.

Necas left the ice to receive treatment but later returned to play in overtime.

Despite Tampa having the edge, Carolina did display grit to grind out a point on the road.

Tampa built a 2-0 lead behind a breakaway goal from Alex Killorn and a powerplay marker from Brayden Point.

Andrei Svechnikov cut the lead in half and extended his goal streak to three games with a powerplay goal in the 2nd period. Then, Brady Skjei got his second goal of the season to tie the game at two a little over a minute into the 3rd period.

All the while, Petr Mrazek kept the Canes close with save after save. Mrazek would finish with 33 saves on 36 shots faced.

"[Mrazek] bailed us out all game...The fact that we got a point out of that was probably pretty good. And, we had a chance to win it [in overtime]. He put us in a good spot to potentially win that. We're playing the best team in hockey; we can't play the way we did," Brind'Amour said.

Brady Skjei summed up the night and how the Canes need to improve for Tuesday's game against Tampa.

"I think we can learn from this. I don't think we played our [best] game tonight, and that showed...Petr played a heck of a game. We're going to come back tomorrow, learn a few things on video, and get right back at it."

Lineup News

Canes head coach Rod Brind'Amour does not expect any lineup changes from Monday night, although last-minute changes are possible.

Jake Bean and James Reimer are slated to be healthy extras.

Alex Nedeljkovic (10-4-2, .930 SV%, 1.92 GAA) will start for the Hurricanes.

Former Hurricane Curtis McElhinney (3-5-1, .862 SV%, 3.48 GAA) will likely start for Tampa Bay.

The Canes' expected lines:

Forwards

Andrei Svechnikov — Sebastian Aho — Jesper Fast

Nino Niederreiter — Vincent Trocheck — Martin Necas

Jordan Martinook — Jordan Staal — Warren Foegele

Cedric Paquette — Steven Lorentz — Morgan Geekie

Defense

Jaccob Slavin — Dougie Hamilton

Brady Skjei — Brett Pesce

Jake Gardiner — Jani Hakanpaa

Goalies

Petr Mrazek

Alex Nedeljkovic

Injuries: Teuvo Teravainen (concussion), Brock McGinn (upper body), James Reimer (healthy), Jake Bean (healthy)

Tampa's expected lines:

Forwards

Ondrej Palat — Brayden Point — Alex Barre-Boulet

Alex Killorn — Anthony Cirelli — Tyler Johnson

Barclay Goodrow — Yanni Gourde — Blake Coleman

Patrick Maroon — Ross Colton — Mathieu Joseph

Defense

Victor Hedman — Erik Cernak

Ryan Mcdonagh — David Savard

Mikhail Sergachev — Luke Schenn

Goalies

Andrei Vasilevskiy

Curtis McElhinney

Injuries: Steven Stamkos (lower body), Nikita Kucherov (hip surgery), Jan Rutta (lower body), Anders Nilsson (concussion)

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JL Matthews is a writer with interests spanning history, humor, tv/film, parenting, and more. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he is a 6x Top Writer on Medium. Follow him on News Break, Medium, and Twitter for updates and latest work.

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