TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – They split the regular-season meetings down the middle. The Tampa Bay Lightning won four games, one in overtime, and the Carolina Hurricanes won four games, one in overtime.
While the Hurricanes scored one more goal against the Lightning in the regular season, the Lightning have scored two more goals than the Hurricanes in the postseason.
“They have an identity, the way they play, and they have not really strayed from it,” said Lightning Jon Cooper, “and I think both teams are similar in that respect.”
The teams have fairly similar statistics but, if you compare the postseason facts and figures, the glaring difference is hitched to the power play.
The Lightning have scored on the power play 40% of the time while the Hurricanes have only scored on the power play 21.1% of the time. The power play percentages in the regular season differed by less than 4% and the Hurricanes had the advantage so why the drastic the change?
I have two names for you, Nikita Kucherov and Steven Stamkos.
Kucherov, who missed the entire regular season, returned to the ice to start the playoffs with his team and has recorded eleven points in those six games, three goals, and eight assists, with seven of those eleven points coming on the power play.
Stamkos did not play in the last two regular-season games between the Lightning and the Hurricanes but, since his return, he has recorded eight points in six games notching half of them on the power play.
The Hurricanes, although they will be watching them on film, have not played against the dynamic duo that is Kucherov and Stamkos this season. However, they will be playing against them plenty in the upcoming series.
“We will see which team comes out on top,” stated Cooper.