Tampa hands Canes 4-1 loss
Posted January 22, 2013
FINAL: Tampa Bay defeats Carolina 4-1.
Third period, 10:03, 4-1 Tampa: Ryan Malone finds the back of the net after catching a rebounding puck. The Lightning lead the Hurricanes 4-1.
Third period, 18:23, 3-1 Tampa: Keith Aulie snaps one top-shelf past Ward out of the gate, putting Tampa Bay up 3-1.
Second period, 16:25, 2-1 Tampa: The Hurricanes took advantage of a power play as Jeff Skinner cashed in on a rebound to bring the Canes within one. Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin recorded their first points as Canes with assists on Skinner's goal.
8:24, first period, 2-0 Tampa: Tampa Bay makes it 2-0 as Cory Conacher stuffs home a rebound in the crease. 8:24 left to play in the first period.
14:32, first period, 1-0 Tampa: The Tampa Bay Lightning get on the board first. Tom Pyatt converted a Vinny Lecavalier pass into a goal for the 1-0 lead.
The last time the Carolina Hurricanes hoisted the Stanley Cup was in 2005-06. That season was the rebirth of the NHL following a lockout and the year started with a sputter – a 5-2 road loss. Fast forward to 2013 and the NHL has resumed following a 113-day labor hiatus and Carolina again came out of the gate with a limp – a 5-1 road defeat at Florida.
What the Hurricanes hope will transpire in the abbreviated season is a response equal in ratio to the 2005-06 season, when they rattled off 14 wins in their next 17 games that started with a win in their home opener. Tuesday marks that chance for Carolina as PNC Arena will be the setting for a tangle with Tampa Bay (1-1-0, 2 Pts.).
“This year, when we could be having four games a week, there is no time to feel sorry for yourself when you have a poor one and you can’t boast when you are playing well,” Canes head coach Kirk Muller said.
Tuesday will also be the first time Jordan Staal and Alexander Semin take to the PNC ice in game mode. The newly acquired forwards arrive with high expectations but also a few questions. One being, how will they gel on a new team with no training camp? Judging by the mixing and matching of the lines in practice the last two days, that question may still be unanswered.
Jeff Skinner sported a couple different color sweaters this week, Drayson Bowman took first-line reps and Zac Boychuck was skating with the fourth line.
The established lines are expected to place Bowman with Eric Staal and Semin. Jordan Staal will center a line with Jiri Tlusty and Chad LaRose. Skinner will reunite with Jussi Jokinen and Patrick Dwyer.
Kevin Westgarth, who was a healthy scratch for the season opener, is also expected to suit up and play the fourth line Tuesday with Tim Brent. The physical forward showed signs of offense during the team's intra-squad scrimmage, although there is no question that his role will be more of an enforcer.
Indications are that the brothers Staal may skate together at some point along with Semin, loading up on firepower if needed.
The Hurricanes dug themselves an early hole against the Panthers Saturday, surrendering four 1st-period goals. The remaining 40 minutes were played at a higher level for the Canes, but by that point the damage had been done.
"I think we just had guys wanting to do so much and do so well and they were so excited that it backfired,” Muller said.
Carolina was 0-for-6 on the power play in the season-opening effort and surrendered four goals while a man down. Special teams was a point of emphasis in practice this week, and in a short season with no camp will undoubtedly be the difference in most of the games across the league in the early going.
Cam Ward, who relinquished the quartet of tallies in the opening frame Saturday, got an early hook in favor of Dan Ellis. While the veteran backup stopped 12-of-13 shots in relief, Muller said that he will stick to his starter and give the crease to Ward again Tuesday.
"I think what's important is that he bounces back mentally," Muller said. "I said, 'Forget about it. It's done.'"
For Tampa Bay, meanwhile, offense has not been a problem and the big-guns are leading the charge. Martin St. Louis has a team-high three goals and five points in two contests. Steven Stamkos has three helpers to go along with a goal and the Lightning as a team is 3rd in the NHL in scoring at 4.5 goals per game.
The Lightning, are playing their second game in as many nights and are coming off a poor showing Monday in a 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders.
As for the not-so-sweet stats that go against Carolina in their matchup Tuesday: they are just 3-7-2-2 in home openers since relocating from Hartford 14 seasons ago and played Tampa Bay in their first one last year – a 5-1 loss. The Lightning have also won five of the last seven meetings in Raleigh.
Tuesday’s game drops puck at 7 p.m. and can be heard on 99.9 The Fan ESPN Radio with a one-hour pregame, as well as a post-game wrap, hosted by Mike Maniscalco.