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(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Lightning and Carolina Hurricanes have captured the last two Stanley Cups, but neither has displayed championship form as of late. Both clubs hope to put an end to lengthy losing streaks when they square off this evening at the St. Peter Times Forum.

The defending champion Hurricanes are in the biggest rut, as the team extended its slide to a season-long five games with Friday's 4-3 setback at home to Toronto.

Alex Steen recorded the tiebreaking goal with six minutes left to give former Carolina head coach a victory in his return to Raleigh, three years to the day he was fired as the 'Canes head man.

Erik Cole, Justin Williams and Mike Commodore scored for the Hurricanes, who have lost five in a row for the first time since closing the 2002-03 season with six consecutive losses March 26-April 6. Cam Ward made 21 saves in a losing effort.

Carolina played its third straight contest minus leading scorer Rod Brind'Amour, who is battling a groin strain. Also missing was left wing Andrew Ladd, who underwent an emergency appendectomy Thursday at Raleigh's Rex Hospital and is out indefinitely.

The Lightning have dropped three consecutive games and are a horrid 1-6-1 over their last eight. Tampa's latest defeat came Thursday in Montreal, where the club came on the short end of a 4-2 decision.

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A huge game going under the radar here.

This could enforce the reason of big changes coming to the Lighting team, or the 'Canes missing a chance to get in while they can. (Pittsburgh, Washington, Toronto, the NY Islanders and Boston are all playing tonight)
 
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