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Game Preview: Tampa Bay Lightning Travel to Raleigh on Second Half of Back-to-Back to Face Carolina Hurricanes

January 22nd, 2013 at 2:51 PM
By Kyle Alexander Abney

After falling just short in a comeback effort yesterday at Nassau Coliseum against the New York Islanders, the Tampa Bay Lightning travel to North Carolina to face the new-look division rival Carolina Hurricanes.

Carolina GM Jim Rutherford opened the pocket book this offseason, dealing away gritty center Brandon Sutter and his 1st round draft pick to acquire captain Eric Staal's brother Jordan from the Pittsburgh Penguins. He then signed Jordan to a 10 year, 60 million dollar contract extension.

He also was the GM willing to take a shot on "enigmatic" sniper Alex Semin, and with those two acquisitions the Hurricanes drastically improved their top-6 forward crop.

However, their opening night road loss to the Florida Panthers (a 5-1 drubbing) suggests maybe the chemistry is not quite there yet, and while the added offense up front always help, there are still a lot of holes along the Carolina blue line for the Tampa Bay Lightning to exploit.

Undoubtedly the Bolts will see an angry and pumped up Carolina team that's debuting its new roster in front of their home fans.

The Lightning will need a more complete effort from the drop of the puck. Sleepwalking in the first and second period and spotting a home team 3+ goals is not the script Guy Boucher and company want their guys to follow tonight like they did on Monday afternoon against the Islanders.

As per the official Tampa Bay Lightning Twitter account, Mathieu Garon will get his first start in net for the Bolts after carrying the team for much of last season while veteran Dwayne Roloson struggled.


Garon appeared in 48 games with the Lightning last season, finishing with a 23-16-4 record. He was 2-1 against the Canes in 2011-2011 including one appearance where he was pulled in favor of Roloson after allowing three goals in the 1st period on only 8 shots.

Cam Ward will be in nets again for the Carolina Hurricanes. The puck drops at 7PM EST.

Tags: Alex Semin, Carolina Hurricanes, Eric Staal, Hockey, Mathieu Garon, NHL, Tampa Bay, Tampa Bay Lightning

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