| FS CAROLINAS POSTGAME
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The Carolina Hurricanes’ six-game homestand ended on an especially sour note, as they fell 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in overtime. It wasn’t necessarily the result that stings, but how it happened. Steven Stamkos, the National Hockey League’s leading scorer, netted his second of the game and 47th goal of the season on a 4-on-3 advantage in overtime to win the fourth straight game for the Bolts. It was how the Lightning got that power play that was questionable, to say the least. Let’s talk about that penalty call. Brandon Sutter was rushing into the offensive zone, looking to make a play on a rebound. Stamkos was trailing him, reached his arm out, engaged him and pushed him into goaltender Mathieu Garon. Sutter made every attempt he could – he tried jumping over Garon, who was a good few feet out of his crease – to avoid the goaltender. Yet, he was called for roughing. “Couldn’t get out of the way. Just tried going to the net,” he said. “Obviously the goalie was out pretty far of his crease, and I got pushed in.” He continued later, “No question, I hit the goalie. I ran into him, and there was contact,” he said. “Like I said, I was clearly pushed into him. Terrible call. That’s it.” Head coach Kirk Muller didn’t have much to say about the penalty call. “What am I going to say?” he said. “Next question.” On the bright side, Eric Staal extended his point streak to 11 games, tying his own Carolina franchise (since relocation) record. He had two assists tonight, which also extends his assist streak to 10 games, tying Dave Keon’s franchise record set in 1979. His two assists also gave him his third straight multi-point game and sixth in his 11-game point streak. He’s been the best offensive player for the Hurricanes for weeks now, and he’s making those around him better. “Staalsy, again, played great,” Muller said. “I thought tonight was one of our best games as a team.” Anthony Stewart saw a first-line promotion, as Muller rewarded his work ethic. That move paid off, as Stewart netted two goals, his first multi-point game of the season. He had a few chances to net the hat trick, and he seemed to be feeding off the energy that Staal and Jiri Tlusty brought, and vice versa. “Guys are down, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” he said. “We just have to look forward to the next game.” The next game will be on the road, the first of five away from Raleigh for the Hurricanes. This is when March will begin to pick up, as the team will play just two of their next 12 games at what will be PNC arena. “Our guys have been really resilient,” Muller said. “We’ve gone through a lot lately, both good and bad.”
Recap (Associated Press)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Steven Stamkos has been the Tampa Bay Lightning's go-to guy all season long. When a goal was needed in overtime for the second straight night, the NHL leader put one in.
Stamkos scored two goals - giving him an NHL-best 47 - including the winner 2:41 into overtime as the Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Saturday night.
Teddy Purcell extended his career-best point streak to nine games with a power-play goal in the third, and added an assist on Stamkos' game-winner. Tim Wallace netted the first goal of his career, and Mathieu Garon had 25 saves in the win.
"That was a big character win for our team," Stamkos said. "We got some breaks with a 5-on-3 when we were able to tie it, and in overtime. Finally, we were able to take advantage of some power plays. We may have not played our best game, but we found a way to win, and that's what matters."
Tampa Bay won in overtime for the second straight night after beating the New York Rangers at home on Friday.
"These guys are doing the impossible, so no matter how we do it doesn't make a difference," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "We find ways, and we'll take it."
Anthony Stewart had two goals in his first multipoint game for Carolina, and Jussi Jokinen also scored for the Hurricanes. Carolina captain Eric Staal, who had two assists, extended his NHL-best point streak to 11 games and his assist streak to 10.
Staal matched the marks he and Cory Stillman share for the club's longest scoring streaks since the team relocated from Hartford in 1997.
Cam Ward, playing in his 400th NHL game, stopped 19 shots in the loss.
The winning goal was scored while Brandon Sutter was in the penalty box following a roughing call at 1:05. Sutter and Stamkos got tangled up on a rush before Sutter collided with Garon.
"We played start to finish a playoff-style game," Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said. "Our guys are competing and playing at a high level. I'm really happy with the performance. Stamkos has got the ability to score, and I thought we limited him really well here. He's a world-class player and he can capitalize on it."
Wallace gave Tampa Bay the lead at 5:58 with his first goal in 58 games. Wallace was in his third game with Tampa Bay after being claimed off waivers from the New York Islanders.
Stewart scored the tying goal from Staal at 5:23 of the second, and goals from Jokinen and Stewart made it 3-1 before Stamkos scored on a rush at 18:00.
Purcell connected to tie it during a 5-on-3 power play at 7:24 of the third.
NOTES: It was the 100th game between the teams. ... The Hurricanes went 2-1-3 on their six-game homestand. . RW Chad LaRose played in his first game for Carolina after missing seven because of an undisclosed upper body injury. . D Mike Commodore, playing his second game for the Lightning, was a member of Carolina's 2006 Stanley Cup championship team. ... Jokinen played with the Lightning from 2007-09. ... Carolina RW Tuomo Ruutu (eighth game, upper body) and RW Patrick Dwyer (third game, lower body) sat out. ... Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman (upper body) missed his fourth game.