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Big First Period Carries Carolina: Hurricanes 5, Lightning 2

Jiri Tlusty scored two goals and Eric Staal had three assists as the Carolina Hurricanes jumped out to a 4-1, opening period lead and then held on to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-2 on Thursday night.

Tuomo Ruutu opened the scoring just three minutes and change into the game as he took a nice feed from Staal - who was behind the net - and beat Mathieu Garon top shelf. It was Ruutu's team leading, 15th goal of the season.

Tlusty then put in a Staal rebound just 1:14 after Ruutu's goal.

The Lightning would fight back later in the period as Nate Thompson stole the puck from Jaroslav Spacek and broke into the clear to beat Cam Ward, but the Canes would answer on the very next shift. Jay Harrison got the puck past Garon with a tight angled shot less than a minute later.

Tlusty would score again - his ninth of the season - when he crashed the net trying to get to another Staal feed.

The Hurricanes pretty much cruised after that as the Bolts could only solve Ward one more time for the game. Tim Brent added some insurance with a perfect shot in the third period.

The Canes chased Garon, who was replaced by Dwayne Roloson just 13:10 into the game. The starting goalie allowed three goals on eight Carolina shots.

Game Notes:

  • Tlusty led the team with five shots on goal. He meshed well with Ruutu and Staal in this game. The team combined for 32 shots and did not let up on their offensive attack even though they had a nice lead.
  • Cam Ward had another solid game, (although Thompson beat him pretty easily on the breakaway). The goalie is slowly improving his save percentage and stopped 34 of 36 shots in this one.
  • The team was credited with 22 hits led by Justin Faulk with four.
  • Patrick Dwyer had a team high three blocked shots.
  • Bryan Allen had a team high 23:48 of TOI. Anthony Stewart was low man at 9:06