- After putting together a three-game winning streak and a six-game point streak, the Carolina Hurricanes find themselves on the wrong side of a streak, dropping their third in a row to the Tampa Bay Lightning by a score of 5-2. The loss drops the Canes, who are 0-4 against the Southeast Division this season, out of first place in the division all the way to 10th in the Eastern Conference. “You never want to lose points, and you never want to lose a battle,” said Dan Ellis, who made 31 saves. “In the third, they opened it up to a different level that we didn’t match.”
- For the third consecutive game, the third period proved to be the Hurricanes’ downfall. After 40 minutes, the Lightning led by just a goal, but a wide-open final frame produced six goals, four of which were scored by Tampa Bay. “We got outworked, and they out-competed us, so that’s not acceptable,” said head coach Kirk Muller. “In a big game in your own rink, they outworked us and they wanted it more.”
- Drayson Bowman netted his first goal of the season, a rocket from the tops of the circles that went top shelf opposite the direction in which Mathieu Garon was sliding. That goal cut Tampa Bay’s lead in half to 2-1, but that was fleeting, as just over four minutes later, Richard Panik netted his first career goal to make it 3-1 Bolts. “We fought the puck a little bit,” Bowman said. “It seemed like on the opposite it, they were snapping it around and making things happen.”
- Bobby Sanguinetti recorded his first NHL point, registering the primary assist on Chad LaRose’s goal. It was a heady play by the 24-year-old defenseman on a two-on-one rush to look up and see the pass wasn’t there. He opted for the shot, and the rebound popped right onto LaRose’s stick for the goal. With a goal and an assist, LaRose notched his first multi-point effort of the season.
- Tampa Bay continues to dominate at PNC Arena, as they’ve won six of the last eight meetings between the two teams in Raleigh. Of those eight games, seven have been decided by two goals or more. The Hurricanes have allowed four or more goals in 11 of the last 15 meetings against Tampa Bay, going 2-7-2 in those games. “Yes we have injuries. Yes we have guys playing out of their positions and that’s tough, but there’s not going to be any excuses,” Muller said. “We got beat in our rink in a big game, and that’s not acceptable.”
- Kevin Westgarth played in his 100th career NHL game tonight. Muller rewarded the 29-year-old forward by starting his line.
- Perhaps most positively for the Hurricanes, they get right back at it tomorrow night with a 7 p.m. puck drop on Long Island. It’s the first of two on the road before they come back to Raleigh for six of eight at home. “Best part about it is we’ve got a game right away tomorrow, and we can fix it,” Bowman said.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Steven Stamkos scored and had an assist in a four-goal third period that sent the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night.
Benoit Pouliot, Tom Pyatt and Richard Panik had the other third-period goals for the Lightning, who snapped a first-place tie with the Hurricanes atop the Southeast Division. Marc-Andre Bergeron scored in the first to help Tampa Bay win for the third time in four games following a six-game winless streak.
Mathieu Garon made 32 saves for his second victory of the season. The first came on Jan. 22 against Carolina. Garon has allowed three goals in two games against the Hurricanes and 12 in his other three starts.
Tampa Bay opened the scoring midway through the first period when Bergeron surprised Ellis with a wrist shot from long distance. Bergeron has a point in three of his last four games.
Vincent Lecavalier set up Pouliot early in the third period, holding off Carolina rookie defenseman Ryan Murphy and centering the puck through the crease to Pouliot, who converted into the open net.
After Bowman brought Carolina within one by one-timing Riley Nash's pass past Garon, Panik gave Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead with his first career goal. The rookie made his NHL debut on Feb. 12 against Montreal.
Pyatt then gave Tampa Bay a three-goal edge 7:55 into the third period, 18 seconds after Panik's tally.
LaRose and Stamkos traded goals in the game's final 4 minutes.
The Lightning improved to 6-1-0 this season against teams in the Southeast Division. Tampa Bay is also 5-1-1 in its last seven at Carolina, including two wins this season.
The Hurricanes are 0-4-0 against the Southeast Division.
NOTES: Carolina's Kevin Westgarth played in his 100th game. ... Tampa Bay couldn't score on its three power-play chances and has converted only three of its last 32 opportunities despite ranking fifth in the NHL on the power play. ... The Lightning are 8-0-0 when leading after the first period. ... Carolina's Alexander Semin left in the second period after a puck hit him in the side of the face, but he returned soon after.