The Carolina Hurricanes are finally back home at the PNC Arena tonight for Pride Night as they host the Discover Central Division and NHL leading Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canes are just three points behind the Bolts with a game in hand.
The Canes find themselves sitting squarely in the 2nd place position in the Discover Central Division after a (relatively) successful 4-game miniseries against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
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The Bolts, on the other hand, just had their 5-game winning streak snapped in dramatic fashion by the Dallas Stars this past Thursday night; needless to say, the Bolts will definitely be looking to get another streak going tonight in Raleigh.
The Tampa Bay Lightning are the ultimate test for the Carolina Hurricanes, both in the regular season and very likely further on down the line in the postseason.
If the Canes want to secure the 1st place spot in the Central Division, they’ll have to surpass the Tampa Bay Lightning. If the Canes want to advance out of the Divisional Round of the playoffs later on, they’ll (more than likely) have to surpass the Tampa Bay Lightning in a best-of-7 series.
Games like tonight are a perfect litmus test for both teams and are sure to be a sign of things to come when the teams continue to clash in the coming weeks and months.