NHL: Hurricanes meet Lightning in early marquee matchup
The Carolina Hurricanes finished off one Eastern Conference rival on Monday.
Now, the Hurricanes will try to beat the East’s top club over the past three seasons.
Carolina will square off against the defending conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night in the first matchup of the season between the playoff regulars.
On Monday in Raleigh, Carolina took Washington to a shootout before goalie Frederik Andersen made a final stop on the Capitals’ Dylan Strome to earn a 3-2 victory.
In the triumph, Andrei Svechnikov tallied in regulation and produced the deciding goal in the one-on-one session, while fellow right winger Stefan Noesen scored his first goal for Carolina.
The flashy Svechnikov recorded his team-best eighth goal to become only the second player in the Hartford/Carolina organization’s history to net eight times in the first nine games of a season. Geoff Sanderson notched that many in the 1993-94 season.
Martin Necas had two assists to stretch his point streak to four games (two goals, four assists) — his second such streak through nine games.
Brent Burns also has a four-game point streak — the longest by a Carolina defenseman to this point.
“It’s not surprising — you’ve seen it in spurts for how many years now,’ coach Rod Brind’Amour said of Necas. “It’s always about the consistency. That’s what it’s about being a pro. He’s definitely figuring that out.
“He’s been a difference-maker. I think he’s maturing physically, and the gifts he has are that much better because he’s a little stronger. He’s been around the league a little bit now.”
The coach said Calvin de Haan (undisclosed injury) is close to returning. The 31-year-old blueliner hasn’t played since Oct. 22 in Calgary.
After over 57 minutes trying to decipher its frustrating power play, Tampa Bay pulled out a 4-3 win over Ottawa on Tuesday when Nikita Kucherov netted the game-winning goal with 2:30 remaining.
The Lightning, who have won three straight matches, outshot the Senators 34-15.
Usually one of the best man-advantage units in the league, the Lightning went just 1-for-8, even squandering a 1:35 span with a five-on-three advantage. In that time, former teammate Mathieu Joseph beat Stamkos in a puck race and scored short-handed on a breakaway to put Ottawa ahead 2-1.
Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said the failure on power plays, not five-on-five action, hindered his teammates all night.
“That was a weird one, for sure,” Stamkos said of Tampa Bay’s ninth win in the past 12 games against its division opponent. “You know, five-on-five, I thought we were great. It was almost a case of too many power plays tonight. When it’s not working it can snowball, and we let it snowball. And that’s on us. It almost cost us the game there.
“But we stuck with it … (and) the guys who stepped up in the third were the guys who felt we needed to play a lot better, and we did.”
Kucherov’s goal and two assists vs. Ottawa moved his point streak to eight games. Top defenseman Victor Hedman (upper-body injury) missed the game and is day-to-day.
–Field Level Media