Steven Stamkos notched his second hat trick of the season and the Tampa Bay Lightning turned a close game into a laugher in the third period as they defeated the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-2 on Saturday night.
The contest was tied up at two before the Bolts exploded for two goals in the first 1:05 of the third -- scored within 22 seconds of each other -- and the Canes would get no closer.
After the home team jumped out to a 1-0 lead just three minutes and change into the game, the Canes would tie things up near the end of the period when Justin Faulk banged in the rebound of an Eric Staal shot. It was a powerplay goal and the young defenseman's second of the season.
The Canes took a 2-1 lead when Jay Harrison wristed in another powerplay goal early in the second. Staal set up this goal as well and found Harrison creeping in behind the defense with a nice pass.
But Stamkos would tie things up shortly after and the Bolts would go on to win their third game in a row.
The Canes will return to action on Tuesday night at the RBC against the Islanders.
- At one time the game was 6-2, but a goal was taken off the board when Steve Downie was called for goalie interference at 7:52 in the third. Downie was in the crease banging away at the puck as it went into the net, but it was determined that Cam Ward was unable to play it. Downie ended up down on the ice and it looked like the goalie gave him the business as he released some frustration. Ward and Tim Brent were both called for roughing on the play.
- The Canes were outshot 32-26. Ward's save percentage, which is below .900, will not improve after this one. Alexei Ponikarovsky had a team high four shots.
- Faulk finished with over 23 minutes of ice time, tops on the team, and also had a team high three hits to go with his goal. The defenseman was beaten by Teddy Purcell though as somehow the winger broke into the clear between two Carolina blueliners to beat Ward with an easy goal in the third.
Jaroslav Spacek had a team high four blocked shots.
Post game interviews to be found on Canes PR.com.