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NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Carolina



(Friday, April 14th)

Final Score: Carolina 5, Tampa Bay 4 (SO)

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Matt Cullen was the only player to score in the shootout as the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-4, at the RBC Center in the opener of a home-and-home.

Rod Brind'Amour, Doug Weight and Cory Stillman had a goal and an assist apiece for Carolina, which snapped a two-game skid. Justin Williams tallied a goal and Martin Gerber made 31 saves for the Hurricanes, who now have 111 points and are tied with idle Ottawa for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

If Carolina and Ottawa win out, Carolina will win the East because it will have more wins.

"We've got a whale of a game tomorrow night to play, then we'll get back here in our own building for the finale," Hurricanes head coach Peter Laviolette said. "Tomorrow night will have to be all business because Tampa's back is against the wall. They'll be trouble to get a point tomorrow night so it should be a great hockey game."

Vaclav Prospal, Martin St. Louis and Brad Richards registered a goal and an assist each for Tampa Bay, which has lost three straight games. Ruslan Fedotenko added a goal and Sean Burke stopped 17 shots for the Lightning, who now have 90 points, three ahead of idle Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Tampa Bay is three points behind Montreal for seventh-place.

Atlanta has three games remaining, while Tampa Bay and Montreal have two games left apiece.

"I thought we took some inopportune times to take some penalties, but I saw a lot of good things from our club," Lightning head coach John Tortorella said. "Now we'll get on the plane, and do it again tomorrow."

After a scoreless third period and overtime forced a shootout, Gerber stoned Vincent Lecavalier with the right pad to open the session. Carolina's Eric Staal was stopped by Burke's blocker before Richards rang his shot off the post.

Cullen beat Burke stick side to give Carolina the edge before St. Louis's shot hit the post to seal the win for the Hurricanes.

Carolina drew first blood 45 seconds into the first period while on the power play after Williams redirected a shot from the high slot through Burke's five hole for a 1-0 lead.

Tampa Bay tied the game at the 13:24 mark of the opening frame while on the man advantage when Prospal flipped a shot over Gerber's shoulder from below the right circle.

The Hurricanes regained the lead less than three minutes later as Stillman kicked the puck to his forehand before beating Gerber top shelf from the left circle for a 2-1 advantage.

The Lightning scored the next two goals to take their first lead of the game. Fedotenko beat Gerber with a wrist shot that deflected off the leg of a Carolina defender in front to tie the game with a minute left in the first period.

Just 2:37 into the second frame, St. Louis capped a two-on-none shorthanded rush. Lecavalier went in alone on Gerber and pulled him across the crease before shuttling a pass to St. Louis, who trailed the play and banged the disc into the open net for a 3-2 lead.

Carolina, however, re-tied the game 20 seconds later after Brind'Amour beat Burke with a one-timer from the left circle for a power-play tally.

Tampa Bay regained the lead 7:17 into the second period when Gerber gave up a soft goal. Richards blasted a shot from the neutral zone that beat Gerber glove side for a 4-3 advantage.

The Hurricanes netted the equalizer just over five minutes later while on the power play when Weight gathered a rebound on the doorstep and swept the puck past Burke's stick side to make it 4-4.

Game Notes

The Lightning will host the Hurricanes on Saturday night, before finishing the regular season Tuesday against visiting Washington...After visiting the Bolts on Saturday, the 'Canes will host Buffalo on Tuesday to close out their regular season slate...Tampa Bay is 4-2-1 against Carolina this season...Tampa Bay has lost seven in a row on the road for the first time since a seven-game skid from Oct. 16-Nov. 21, 2001...Gerber's 38th win set a new franchise record, eclipsing Arturs Irbe's 37 wins in 2000-01.

04/14 23:19:03 ET


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