(SportsNetwork.com) – The Tampa Bay Lightning hope to avoid their first three-
game losing streak of the season on Thursday night when they conclude their
homestand against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Lightning have lost three of their past four and are coming off Tuesday’s
5-3 setback to the Washington Capitals. Steven Stamkos reached a goal-scoring
milestone, but two goals from the Caps’ Alex Ovechkin spoiled the night.
Stamkos notched the 250th goal of his career, becoming the 10th-youngest
player in NHL history to reach that mark. He did so at 24 years, 305 days old.
Stamkos has a point in 16 of his past 20 games, with 11 goals and 14 assists
over that span.
Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula also scored and Victor Hedman had three
assists, while Ben Bishop yielded four goals on 34 shots faced.
“Everybody goes through ups and downs in a season, but you don’t want to lean
on that,” said Boyle. “If you start making excuses like that and you don’t get
angry about losing, if you accept losing you start to become a loser.”
The Bolts conclude a four-game homestand tonight before beginning a five-game
swing on Saturday with a rematch against Washington. Tampa Bay will play 11 of
its next 15 as the visiting team.
Bishop could get the start tonight and has never lost to the Hurricanes,
winning all four of his previous meetings with the club. He has a 1.24 goals
against average, .968 save percentage and two shutouts in that time.
Carolina also comes into this meeting slumping, having lost three straight
while getting held to a single goal in each meeting. The Hurricanes got just a
tally from Justin Faulk in Monday’s 2-1 loss to New Jersey despite outshooting
the Devils 40-16, including 17-1 in the third period.
Cam Ward gave up two goals on 16 shots faced as the Hurricanes lost for the
seventh time in nine games. They have been held to a pair of goals or fewer
seven times in that span.
“I don’t think we worked hard enough to be rewarded tonight,” said Hurricanes
forward Jeff Skinner.
Carolina went 1-4-0 on its homestand and is set to play three in a row and six
of its next eight on the road. Forward Alexander Semin could miss his second
straight contest because of an upper-body injury, while center Eric Staal is
probable despite not practicing on Wednesday due to an undisclosed ailment.
Ward is 19-14-3 with a 3.02 GAA and .897 save percentage in his career versus
the Bolts over 37 games with 35 starts.
The Lightning have outscored the Hurricanes 29-9 while winning seven of the
past eight meetings.