Carolina Hurricanes (8-16-3) at Tampa Bay Lightning (18-8-3)
|Date & Time||Thursday December 11, 2014, 7:30 PM (EST)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -235 / Carolina Hurricanes +210 --- Over/Under: 5.5
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The Bolts look to reclaim top spot in the Atlantic division with a victory over the Hurricanes on Thursday while the visitors look to escape the Eastern Conference basement.
The Hurricanes have had a tough go so far this season and while we are still 14 games from the official mid way point of the season I think it is safe to say that the Canes will not be making the playoffs this season. Carolina was projected to be in this spot at the beginning of the year and they haven't disappointed and while they have shown signs of playing better and improving they still sit in a tie for the league's worst record and should have their attention set on the NHL draft in July. Carolina is without Jordan Staal still who is nursing a preseason injury but even with him the Canes are not a very deep team and will have to rebuild through the draft if they're going to get back into the mix in the Eastern Conference any time soon. As for tonight they face off against the Atlantic leading Lightning who can take top spot for their own with a win in this one.
The Lightning have been a team on a mission since the puck dropped in October and through 29 games they are 18-8-3 and are 11-4-1 at home. Tampa Bay has a very potent offense, and underrated blue line and a goaltender who is putting up great numbers this season which all equates to success on the ice and after we saw the Lightning in the playoffs last year and generating success with a ton of young talent and without Steven Stamkos we knew they were going to be a great team this year. This match up isn't even fair as the Bolts are at home against the Conference's worst team and these are the games where the Lightning need to win and win big in order to stay competitive in the Atlantic, the East, and the overall standings and I say they do without question.