Carolina Hurricanes (15-12-7) at Tampa Bay Lightning (18-15-4)
|Date & Time||Saturday December 31, 2016, 7:00 PM (EST)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Lightning -182 / Carolina Hurricanes +140 --- Over/Under:
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The Carolina Hurricanes look to build on their home ice win against the Blackhawks as they travel to Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Hurricanes scored a big win at home against one of the league’s top teams last night and they will be out for another victory as they take to the road to battle the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night. The Canes moved to 15-12-3 with with win last night but they have been much better at home than they have on the road as 12 of their 15 losses have come away from home and if they’re going to make a push for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference they need to find a way to win games in hostile territory and that includes in St. Pete’s against a very good Lightning side who is always a tough out at home. Cam Ward is projected to get the nod but Eddie Lack is also in the mix and with this being a double header for the Canes I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Swede get the call instead.
The Lightning meanwhile are locked in to Andrei Vasilevskiy for the time being as Ben Bishop is out for the foreseeable future with a lower body injury but that suits the Bolts just fine as the young Russian is a very capable suitor and could very well have the inside track on the starter’s job regardless of health. The Bolts are without Steven Stamkos as well which puts a huge dent in their offensive game plan and capabilities, though they have been able to find success in his absence before and they will have to be sharp moving forward if they want to live up to the hype of being a preseason Cup favourite.
The Canes are 4-0 in their last four against the Atlantic and 5-0 in their last five playing in a back to back while the Lightning are 5-11 in their last 16 overall and 1-5 in their last six against the Metro. Carolina is playing well right now and while I am not sold on them as a playoff team the Bolts haven’t been any better and the Hurricanes are well worth the play here.