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Recap and Rank ‘Em: Canes Can’t Keep Pace in Tampa

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Tyler Johnson pots three as Bolts top Canes in track meet.

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s probably not a great idea to get into a track meet with an Olympic sprinter, but the Carolina Hurricanes still decided to give it a shot. Sixty minutes later, Tyler Johnson had potted a hat-trick and the Tampa Bay Lightning walked out with a 5-4 victory.

Give the Canes credit for hanging around—and even leading, twice—in this one, but the Lightning are built for wide open games like this one, and it showed.

But despite the monster that is Tampa’s attack, it was Brock McGinn opening the scoring three-and-a-half minutes into the opening frame. He gave Carolina an early lead, deflecting a Justin Williams pass through Andrei Vasilevsky for Carolina’s third power-play goal in four games.

Tampa returned fire as expected; Nikita Kucherov backed off the Canes defense before dropping a pass for Victor Hedman to wire off the post and in the net.

In the spirit of “anything you can do I can do better,” Sebastian Aho put the Canes ahead once more with a lightning-quick shot from the top of the face off circles just two minutes later.

Not to be outdone, Johnson added his first goal of the game with four minutes to go, leveling the scored heading into the intermission.

After Carolina squandered its two leads in the first stanza, the Lightning took their turn going ahead.

Johnson recorded his second of the game early in the middle period with an acrobatic effort, but Justin Faulk evened the game once more with his first goal of the game, and fourth of the season, 10 minutes later.

The Lightning appeared to take a 4-3 lead early in the third period, but a successful Bill Peters offside challenge negated the goal (yes, really). Not to be denied, Jake Dotchin put the Bolts ahead halfway through the period with a laser past Cam Ward’s glove.

With Carolina pushing for yet another equalizer, Johnson made it rain hats and put the game out of reach with just over five minutes remaining. The forward won a footrace with and overpowered Noah Hanifin before chipping the puck past Ward for a phenomenal individual marker.

Faulk added a second tally with 1:18 to go, but the Bolts held fast for their League-leading 31st win.

Ward turned aside 29 pucks for the Canes, while Vasilevsky stopped 25 in the other crease.

Rank the Performances

Here’s your chance to weigh in on how you think the team performed tonight. Upvote the players you think played well and downvote the ones who didn’t.