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Hurricanes look to rebound from first defeat with game vs. Lightning

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After losing for the first time this season, the Carolina Hurricanes will have to be better Tuesday night against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

Stung from a lopsided 5-2 setback to the Florida Panthers on Saturday, Carolina will travel up the state’s Gulf Coast to meet the Lightning.

It will be the teams’ first encounter since their second-round matchup in last season’s playoffs.

Eliminated by the Lightning in five games in that series, the Hurricanes started this season 9-0-0 — outscoring the opposition 37-15 and rarely playing from behind — but that joy came crashing down in South Florida against the Panthers.

Florida, currently 10-0-1, blitzed its former division rival from last season for four goals in the first 15:28 of the teams’ first meeting — chasing starting goalie Frederik Andersen after the period.

It got worse for replacement goalie Antti Raanta, who played just 12:22 of the second before being knocked out of the game in a collision with Florida’s feisty forward Ryan Lomberg when both met in the right circle while racing for the puck.

With Hurricanes coach Rod Brind’Amour saying Raanta is likely concussed, the team called up goalie Alex Lyon from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves on Monday morning.

Andersen made 23 saves and rebounded well after the awful start.

Despite outscoring Florida 2-1 over the final 40 minutes — the only goal allowed being Anthony Duclair’s empty-netter — the Hurricanes found little solace in their initial defeat.

“Yeah, if you want to find a silver lining, this team never quits,” said Vincent Trocheck, who tallied on a power play against his former club. “But it’s a 60-minute game, not 40, so we’ve got to come out a little better than we did.”

Last season, Carolina won five of the 13 matches between the teams — just two in Tampa — and the Lightning will return home after a productive two-game trip to Canada that secured three points.

Playing without defenseman Mikhail Sergachev, who will finish his two-game suspension Tuesday for an illegal hit on Toronto’s Mitchell Marner, the club handled Ottawa 5-3 on Saturday.

In his second start, backup backstop Brian Elliott allowed three goals on 27 shots against the club that drafted him in 2003 and produced his first victory with his new team.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper was in a much better mood than Thursday, when his club left a point behind in Toronto — giving up John Tavares’ game-tying goal in regulation’s last minute and William Nylander’s winner on a power play in overtime.

A good reason for that was the play of Elliott.

“The job of the backup goaltender is tough,” Cooper said. “Because you’re always practicing, but nothing can replicate games. I think that’s where we’ve had success with (former backup Curtis) McElhinney, who was outstanding, and now Elliott.

“These veteran guys know how to prepare. Mentally they’re strong enough to know what to expect, and you give enough time to know when they’re going to start that they can prepare that way.”

The Lightning are 4-0-1 since winning 5-1 in Pittsburgh on Oct. 26, giving them a five-game point streak. They also scored 10 more goals than their opponents in that span — holding a 19-9 edge.

Also, they have notched points in six of their past seven contests, sporting a 4-1-2 mark.

–Field Level Media

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