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Carolina Outlasts Tampa Bay in Pond Hockey Game: Hurricanes 8, Lightning 5

Eric Staal scored two goals and chipped in with two assists as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning in a wild game at St. Pete Times Forum on Tuesday night, 8-5.

The Canes struck for five goals in the first period as they jumped out to a 5-1 lead, then held on the rest of the way as Tampa Bay tried to make a game of it.  Drayson Bowman scored two goals, including his first ever NHL goal and Rod Brind`Amour knocked in two goals of his own.

Manny Legace started the game but had to leave early in the second period because of a lower body concern.  Cam Ward came in to replace him and made 23 saves on 26 Lightning shots.

Joni Pitkanen also left the contest early with a lower body injury.

Steven Stamkos actually started the scoring off in the game as he took a poor clearing attempt by the Carolina defense and beat Legace with an unassisted goal.  It was the 47th tally of the season for Stamkos, putting him one behind Sidney Crosby, who scored his 48th of the season on Tuesday night as well.

The rest of the first period was all Carolina as they bombarded starting Tampa goalie Antero Niittymaki with 23 shots.

Drayson Bowman got things started for the visitors when he put back a Zach Boychuk shot.  It was the first career NHL goal for Bowman.   Boychuk and Brandon Sutter set up the play behind the net and were both credited with assists.

A couple of minutes later, Brind'Amour got his first of the night.  Sergei Samsonov and Jamie McBain earned the assists.  

Then the Canes would score three goals in the last 2:03 of the period.  Jussi Jokinen lit the lamp first when he scored his 30th of the season as he cut in front of Niittymaki and roofed a backhander over him.

Brind'Amour scored again with just 31 seconds left.  

Then Bowman and Patrick Dwyer crashed the net and Bowman got credit for another goal just 11 seconds after Brind'Amour's.

With the score 5-1, needless to say the Lightning started a new goalie in the second period, Mike Smith.

Tampa Bay scored the next goal, but Eric Staal then joined the party and scored two in a row of his own, making the score 7-2.  It was the 25th and 26th of the year for Staal and you can bet he has not given up on the 30 goal threshold himself.  He has scored 30 goals or more in every season since his rookie year.

The Lightning scored again before the end of the second and would light the lamp twice in the third as the Canes went into defensive mode and barely looked in the Tampa Bay zone. They only had three shots on goal that period, but one of them was an empty net shot by Chad LaRose, who closed out the scoring.

It was another great rebound game for the team after a disappointing home loss, but some fans might be wishing the Canes could save their best performances for the RBC ice.   The Hurricanes have lost 5 of their last 7 at home, but have won 3 of 4 on the road.

Next up will be Montreal in Raleigh on Thursday night for the last home game of the season.

Game Notes:

  • The Canes had 41 shots on goal, (with only 3 in the third period).  They were led by Bowman, Staal, Brind'Amour, and Jokinen who had 5 each. 
  • While there were two fights in the contest,  (Tom Kostopoulos and Jay Harrison each dropped the gloves with Zenon Konopka), there was not much hitting.  The Canes were only credited with 8 hits for the game led by Brett Carson and Brian Pothier with 2 each.  
  • Jamie McBain had a team high 4 blocked shots.