The Lightning were one win away from making last year's Stanley Cup Finals, but began this season with losses in five of their first six games. Tampa Bay has gone 4-1-0 since that dubious start and received a terrific outing from goaltender Dwayne Roloson in its most recent game.
Roloson was a big reason Tampa Bay lasted until Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals last spring, but he was torched for 18 goals in his first four starts of the 2011-12 campaign.
On Saturday, the 42-year-old Roloson recorded his first shutout of the year, stopping all 28 shots in Tampa's 1-0 victory over the visiting Winnipeg Jets, who had scored nine goals in their previous contest against Philadelphia. It was Roloson's 29th career shutout and fifth since coming over to Tampa Bay in a trade last January.
Roloson, who made 17 stops through the first two periods, made the shutout stand up with 11 saves in the final period.
"To be honest with you, our guys blocked a lot of shots in front of me," Roloson said. "They did some things in our end that me see the puck real well."
Roloson could get the start again tonight and is 6-6-0 with a 2.68 goals- against average in 14 career games against Carolina.
Tonight's game marks the second meeting this season between the 'Canes and Bolts. Tampa recorded a 5-1 win in Raleigh on Oct. 7, giving the Lightning wins in three straight and four of the last encounters with Carolina. The Lightning also have won three in a row and four out of five at RBC Center.
The Hurricanes have not played well recently, losing four of their last five games (1-2-2). Carolina was last in action Saturday in Philadelphia and the Hurricanes surrendered four goals in the third period en route to a 5-1 loss against the Flyers.
"Goes without saying that you want to beat your old team but obviously that didn't happen and it was really disappointing," Boucher said.
Cam Ward -- Carolina's No. 1 goaltender -- will be back in net tonight and he is 16-12-2 with a 3.00 GAA in 31 career games against the Lightning.
Tonight marks the start of a three-game homestand for the 'Canes, who are 2-1-1 as the host this season. Tampa Bay is 2-3-2 on the road.