Tampa Bay takes division lead with 5-2 win over Canes
Posted February 23, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — FINAL: Tampa Bay 5, Canes 2
The Tampa Bay Lightning scored four goals in the third period to beat the Hurricanes 5-2 Saturday at PNC Arena and claim the top spot from Carolina in the Southeast Division.
End of 2: Tampa Bay 1, Canes 0
The intensity for both teams picked up in the second but both Dan Ellis and Mathieu Garon were up to the task as they pitched perfect periods and Tampa Bay's 1-0 lead will carry into the third.
Alexander Semin left the ice after taking a puck to the face. He was checked out in the locker room and returned to the ice a few minutes later.
Each team went 0-for-1 on the man advantage in the frame.
End of 1: Tampa Bay 1, Canes 0
Tampa Bay's Marc-Andre Bergeron got a 40-footer past Dan Ellis at the 9:06 mark of the first period and the Lightning take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission at PNC Arena.
Carolina has out-hit Tampa Bay 11-2 and won 12 of 16 faceoffs, but has ben unable to turn the physical play or possessions into points.
Alexander Semin took the lone penalty of the period as he was called for a high sticking. The Canes killed off the penalty with little Tampa Bay threat.
20:00 1st: Canes vs. Tampa Bay
Dan Ellis will be in goal for the Canes tonight following a couple disappointing efforts from Cam Ward.
Jeremy Welsh and Ryan Murphy will both be in the lineup again for Carolina as well. The Hurricanes are looking to avoid their first 3-game losing streak of the season.
Trying to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season, the Carolina Hurricanes welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to PNC Arena at 7 p.m. Saturday for an important Southeast Division battle.
The Hurricanes have lost two straight in regulation, matching the 0-2-0 slide that begin their lockout-shortened regular season. Both setbacks have come without the services of forward Jeff Skinner, who is out with a concussion suffered on Feb. 14 against Toronto.
Skinner is considered day-to-day and is expected to miss Saturday's game. He did participate in the morning skate on Saturday, but was donning a yellow, non-contact jersey.
Carolina's most recent setback came Thursday night against the visiting Winnipeg Jets. Blake Wheeler scored the game-winning goal with just under five minutes left to lift the Jets to the 4-3 decision. Wheeler's decisive goal came just 16 seconds after Carolina's Jiri Tlusty tallied to tie the game at 3-3.
"We have to do a better job," Tlusty said. "We didn't execute after the goal we scored and that was the big key."
Tlusty notched a pair of goals and Jordan Staal added another for the Hurricanes, who had won three straight before the current skid. Cam Ward stopped 19 shots in the setback.
The loss dropped Carolina's home record to 3-3-0 this season.
In addition to Skinner, the Hurricanes are also without defenseman Jamie McBain, who is expected to miss 1-to-2 weeks with an unspecified upper body injury. McBain suffered the injury in Monday's 3-0 loss at Montreal.
After ending a six-game slide with consecutive wins, the Lightning were back on the losing end in their last outing, Thursday's 4-2 loss to visiting Boston. The game was the first meeting of the season between the Bruins and Lightning as a Feb. 9 contest in Boston was postponed due to a blizzard. That game will be made up on April 25.
Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist for the Lightning, while Cory Conacher also lit the lamp. Anders Lindback stopped 22-of-26 shots in defeat.
"Our players definitely competed today, although this was probably the most intense game all year by far," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. "That (Boston) was a great team out there, and the way they played, that's why they've only lost two games."
Beginning with Saturday's test, Tampa is playing six of its next seven games on the road. The Lightning are 2-4-0 as the guest so far this season.
One of Tampa Bay's two road wins came at Carolina, as the Bolts notched a 4-1 win in Raleigh on Jan. 22. Mathieu Garon stopped 35-of-36 shots sent his way by the Hurricanes in that game.
Tampa has won two straight and five of its last six games at Carolina and has claimed seven of the past 11 encounters overall. Saturday's winner will end the day as the leader in the Southeast Division.