- As far as bounces go, the Carolina Hurricanes haven’t been on the receiving end of many beneficial ones. The team dropped its second in a row on Tuesday night, losing 4-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Canes again took a multiple-goal deficit to the locker room after 20 minutes, as they trailed 2-0. But it wasn’t for a lack of effort. “I don’t know if we started slow. The guy knocks one out of the air, and we’re down one again,” said head coach Kirk Muller, in reference to Tom Pyatt’s opening goal, in which he backhanded a pass from Vincent Lecavalier out of mid-air into the net. “We’re giving up goals at timely periods of the game. The first game, [Florida] scores early and runs away. This game, I thought we were right in it.”
- After surrendering three power play goals on Saturday, the Hurricanes’ penalty-killing units clamped down tonight. They killed off five straight minor penalties until Ryan Malone banged home a rebound on a third period power play to make it 4-1 Tampa Bay. “They’ve got some skill on their power play, and we did a better job being a little more aggressive,” Eric Staal said.
- On the other side of the special teams coin, the Hurricanes power play connected for the first time this season, and could have added another two or three. Jeff Skinner brought the Canes within a goal in the second period, as he roofed a backhander on a rebound. Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin both recorded their first points as Hurricanes with assists on that sequence. “I think the power play was good. That’s definitely a positive,” Skinner said. “We could have buried a couple more.”
- Speaking of Skinner, Muller singled out the 20-year-old forward as one of the game’s brightest spots. Skating on the third line for the first half of the game, Skinner was promoted to the top line alongside Eric Staal and Semin as the game wore on. “Skins wasn’t happy with his first game. I thought he worked hard tonight,” Muller said. “He was very involved, probably one of our best forwards. When he works like that … he can be a game-breaker.”
- In his ninth NHL season, Eric Staal has officially recorded just one fighting major: April 3, 2006 vs. Jeff Halpern of the Washington Capitals (video available here: http://youtu.be/0WHaRpFQB1k). He nearly had a second, as he wanted to drop the gloves with Lightning winger Adam Hall late in the third period. The two came together, and the scuffle was quickly broken up. Hall received two minutes for elbowing and Staal, two minutes for roughing. “I wasn’t frustrated. I was just competing. I’m just trying to lead by competing and being strong on pucks,” Staal said. “This game is won by battles, physical play and being tough to play against. We’ve got to be a little stronger there.”
- For the second game in a row, the Hurricanes outshot their opponents (36-26) but could only muster a goal. The team isn’t short on chances, and as chemistry continues to build, those chances will start to fall and wins will follow. “We were a better team than we were the other night, but we’re 0-2 in a shortened season,” Muller said. “We had scoring chances. We just have to get a little more killer instinct and capitalize.”
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Keith Aulie and Ryan Malone scored third-period goals to break open a 2-1 game, giving the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Tuesday night.
Holding onto a 2-1 lead early in the third period, Aulie sent a wrister past Cam Ward from the left face off dot, followed by Malone's power-play tally during a goal-mouth scramble.
Mathieu Garon, seeing his first action of the season in goal, stopped 35 shots for the win.
Tom Pyatt started the scoring for the Lightning (2-1-0) when he batted a pass out of mid air five minutes into the game. Matt Carle started the play with a long outlet pass to Vincent Lecavalier, who curled to the boards before sending a high pass across the slot to Pyatt.
Later in the first, the Lightning forecheck accounted for the second goal. Lecavalier came from behind the net to squeeze off a shot against Ward in close quarters, and Cory Conacher pounced on the rebound for his second goal in just his third NHL game. Conacher also scored in his NHL debut against Washington Jan. 19. Teddy Purcell set up the play from behind the net, earning his fourth assist of the season.
Carolina's lackluster first period marked the second straight game where the Hurricanes were slow out of the gate. They spotted Florida a 4-0 first-period lead in the season opener on Saturday.
In the second period, the Hurricanes finally shook off some rust in the waning seconds of a brief 5-on-3 advantage. With Conacher and Malone in the box, Jeff Skinner sent an off-balance backhander past a diving Garon. Jordan Staal and Alex Semin each earned the first assists of their Carolina careers.