The Carolina Hurricanes surprised many when they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-0 on Saturday night. The Hurricanes will face the Lightning in the second game of the mini-series and with both teams looking good this season, we should be in for a great game. The Lightning and Hurricanes are among the two best in the Central Division and both rosters have little to no flaws on them.
Hurricanes offensive depth powers strong seasonThe Hurricanes have one of the deepest rosters in the NHL and have been one of the best teams in the Central Division as a result. The offense in particular has proven its depth with all of their lines possessing goal scorers and playmakers. Six of the Hurricanes have scored 6 goals or more this season with Vincent Trochek and Nino Niederreiter leading the way with 9 each for an offense that is scoring 3.6 goals per game.
The Hurricanes offense has been leading the way but the defense is once again playing at a high level. Dougie Hamilton and Jaccob Slavin are leading the top pairing with a combined 2.1 defensive point shares while the pairing of Brady Skjei and Haydn Fleury are combining for 46 blocked shots. While the defense has played well, the goaltending trio of James Reimer, Petr Mrazek, and Alex Nedeljkovic has been cleaning up whatever the defense can't stop, allowing only 2.5 goals per game.
Lightning hope offense can end skidThe Lightning has lost the last two games and 3 of the last 4, including a 4-0 shutout in the most recent defeat to the Carolina Hurricanes. The offense has played well for Tampa Bay for the majority of this season and the Lightning will hope that star scorers like Steven Stamkos, can return the team back to their usual winning ways. Speaking of Stamkos, he leads the scoring with 8 goals this season while Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat have 6 goals each as part of an offense that is scoring 3.6 goals per game.
While the offense has carried the Lightning, the defense has helped turn the Lightning into one of the best teams in the NHL in recent seasons. Victor Hedman is one of the best two-way players in the game with 22 blocked shots this season while also adding 12 assists on the offensive end while Mikhail Sergachev is emerging as the Lightning's star young defenseman as the 22-year-old is leading the team with 1.2 defensive point shares. Meanwhile, the Lightning is getting the typical dominance from Andrei Vasilevskiy in goal as he is only 2 goals per game.