(SportsNetwork.com) – The Tampa Bay Lightning will try to record consecutive
wins for the first time in nearly a month when they host the Carolina
Hurricanes on Saturday.
Tampa is 4-5-2 in 11 games since last posting a winning streak with four
straight victories from Nov. 22-Dec.1. The club was able to head into the
NHL’s Christmas Break on a winning note, however, as the Lightning halted a
two-game slide Tuesday against visiting Pittsburgh.
Tyler Johnson recorded his second career hat trick to help the Bolts post a
4-3 win over the Penguins and halt a 10-game skid in the series. The victory
was Tampa’s first against Pittsburgh since another home win on Nov. 17, 2011.
Johnson completed his hat trick at the 2:37 mark of the second period when he
pushed Tampa’s lead to 4-0. The Lightning would have to hold on for the win,
however, as Pittsburgh scored once in the second and twice more in the third.
The Penguins’ third goal came with 1:31 left in regulation, but Pittsburgh was
unable to beat Andrei Vasilevskiy for the equalizer. Vasilevskiy earned his
second career win with a 26-save effort.
Nikita Kucherov chipped in the other goal and added two assists for the
Lightning. Ondrej Palat notched three helpers in the win.
Johnson, who leads Tampa with 37 points, has recorded a point in five straight
games, notching five goals and three helpers during the scoring surge.
Ben Bishop expects to be back in net for the Lightning tonight after sitting
out the past four games due to a lower-body injury. Tampa’s No. 1 goalie is
4-0 with a 1.24 goals against average in four career games against Carolina.
The Bolts have won four straight and eight of their past nine meetings with
the Hurricanes and Carolina has lost two in a row on the road in this matchup.
Carolina also was able to enter the holiday hiatus with a win, beating New
Jersey on the road in a shootout on Tuesday. Chris Terry scored the lone goal
of the tiebreaker to give the Hurricanes a 2-1 victory at Prudential Center.
Hurricanes netminder Anton Khudobin also made two big saves to earn his first
win of the season. He stacked the pads on Mike Cammalleri and kicked aside
Adam Henrique’s offering.
Terry, Carolina’s third shooter, followed his goaltender’s impressive stops by
moving the puck from his backhand to his forehand and slipping it under the
pad of Cory Schneider for the win.
Ron Hainsey scored the game-tying goal in the third period and Khudobin
finished with 18 saves for the Hurricanes, who snapped a two-game skid and won
on the road for the first time since Nov. 28.
Khudobin is now 1-8-2 on the season with a 2.71 GAA and .903 save percentage.
“Anton has been very good for us. Good for him to get off the schneid and get
a win,” Carolina head coach Bill Peters said. “The guys played hard in front
It’s uncertain if Khudobin will be rewarded with another start tonight or
if regular starter Cam Ward will return to the crease. Ward is 19-15-3 with a
3.00 GAA in his career against Tampa, while Khudobin 1-1-0 with a 2.34 GAA in
Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin missed the game with an upper-body injury.
He had returned to the lineup Sunday against the Rangers after a six-game
absence before getting hurt again. Semin is questionable for tonight.
Carolina is 4-13-2 as the guest this season and halted a four-game road slide
with Tuesday’s win. Peters’ club is ending a three-game swing tonight before
hosting Montreal on Monday.