The NHL is set up with a great slate of action throughout April 20. Eight games are up on the board throughout Tuesday night. One of these matchups will be between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning. These two teams have been great this season and will look for a huge two points. This game will drop the puck at around 7:00 PM Eastern time.
Carolina has earned a record of 29-10-5 throughout this season, which has them sitting in first place of the Central Division. The Hurricanes are tied in points with the Florida Panthers with two games in hand. Carolina is coming off a loss on Monday night, which ended a two game winning streak. The Hurricanes will look to bounce back in this one.
The Lightning have put up a record of 30-13-2 to this point in the season, which has them in third place of the Central Division. Tampa Bay is only one points behind the Hurricanes and the Panthers. The Lightning are coming off a win in their last game and have won four of their last six. Tampa Bay will look to earn another big win against the Hurricanes in this one.
These two teams are competing back and forth for the top of the Central Division, which should lead to a great game on Tuesday night. Both teams need these two points, which should bump up intensity in this one. These two teams met up last night as well and will look to avoid coming out slow in this game. I expect a quick start from both teams.
The Hurricanes and the Lightning have met up seven times so far this season. Carolina hosted the first three games. Martin Necas scored the overtime winner in the first game as the Hurricanes won 1-0. Sebastian Aho and Andrei Svechnikov both had a goal and an assist in the second game as Carolina won 4-0. Victor Hedman, Ondrej Palat and Steven Stamkos all had a goal and an assist in the third game as Tampa Bay won 4-2.
Tampa Bay hosted the fourth and fifth game of the season series on February 24 and 25. Alex Killorn had two assists on the night, while Andrei Vasilevskiy had a 25 shot shutout to help lift the Lightning to a 3-0 win on the night. Barclay Goodrow, Yanni Gourde and Mikhail Sergachev all scored for Tampa Bay in the fourth game as the Lightning won 3-1.
The sixth game of the season series shifted back to Carolina on March 27. Pat Maroon had a goal and an assist on the night, but it was not enough for Tampa Bay. Martin Necas had two goals on two assists on the night. Sebastian Aho had a goal and an assist on the night. The Hurricanes were able to earn a 4-3 win at home.
The seventh and most recent game of the season series was in Tampa Bay on April 19. Alex Killorn and Brayden Point both scored early for the Lightning to give them a 2-0 lead. Andrei Svechnikov and Brady Skjei both scored for Carolina to force overtime. Yanni Gourde scored the winner in overtime as Tampa Bay earned a big 3-2 win.
Carolina has been strong on both sides of special teams throughout this season. The Hurricanes have scored on 37 of their 132 power play chances, which is a 28 percent success rate. Carolina has given up 23 power play goals on 140 penalties against, which is an 83.6 percent penalty kill. The Hurricanes will look to keep up special teams success in this one.
The Lightning have also been really strong on special teams so far this season. Tampa Bay has capitalized on 36 of their 141 power play opportunities, which is a 25.5 percent power play. The Lightning have killed off 122 of their opponents 148 power play attempts, which is an 82.4 percent kill rate. Tampa Bay will need another good special teams performance in this one.
These two teams have been really strong on special teams throughout this season. Both teams were able to score a power play goal on Monday night and will look to repeat that success in this one. If either power play can get going in this one, it could be enough to earn a big win. I expect both penalty kills to have a good night in this one though after last night’s performance.
I expect James Reimer to get the start in the crease for the Hurricanes in this one. Reimer has played in 20 games this season, going 14-5-1 throughout those starts. He has put up a .907 save percentage and a 2.68 GAA through this season. Reimer’s last start was against the Detroit Red Wings, where he stopped 27 of 29 shots in the loss.
Curtis McElhinney will likely get the nod in the net for Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. McElhinney has earned a record of 3-5-1 through his 9 starts this season. He has posted a save percentage of .862 and a 3.48 GAA through his starts. McElhinney finished with 15 saves on 22 shots in his last outing against the Nashville Predators which was not nearly enough for the win.
Carolina has a big edge in the crease with Reimer getting the start in the net. Reimer has not been perfect this season, but he has not had the same struggles McElhinney has had. The Hurricanes will need Reimer to have another strong start. If Carolina can put a lot of pressure on McElhinney early, it could be enough to break through in this one.
The Hurricanes lost on Monday night to Tampa Bay, but I think they will bounce back in this one. These two teams have gone toe to toe all season long and it seems fitting that the end with a season series tie. Carolina had a tough loss in overtime last night, but with McElhinney in net on Tuesday, I think they can get the offense going early.
BetOnline has Tampa Bay listed as a -128 against the money line in this one. This implies that the Lightning will win this game around 56.1 percent of the time. I think that this line should be closer to even with Carolina leading the division. The Hurricanes have been really strong this season and as slight underdogs, they have great value on Tuesday night.