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NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Tampa Bay

(Thursday, October 26)

Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Carolina 1

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Marty St. Louis recorded a natural hat trick in the second period to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a dominating 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes in the opener of a home-and-home set at St. Pete Times Forum.

Vincent Lecavalier and Ruslan Fedotenko also scored for the Lightning, who won their third consecutive game. Marc Denis made 23 saves in the victory.

Eric Staal notched the only goal for the Hurricanes, who will host Tampa Bay on Saturday night. Carolina is now 1-2-1 in its last four games following a three-game winning streak.

Goaltender Cam Ward allowed four goals on 21 shots and was pulled after two periods of action. John Grahame, who won the Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004, replaced Ward and stopped 5-of-6 shots in the final period.

"We wanted to get Johnny (Grahame) into the game, get him some ice time," said Carolina head coach Peter Laviolette.

The Lightning jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Fedotenko scored his fourth goal of the season at the 7:02 mark of the opening period. Fedotenko accepted a long pass from Cory Sarich in the neutral zone and crossed the blue line before he avoided a broken stick that was laying on the ice. Fedotenko faked a slap shot, which forced Carolina defenseman Glen Wesley out of position, then used Wesley as a screen to beat Ward with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle that deflected off the right post.

"I'm trying to work on my wrist shot," said Fedotenko. "I try not to use the slap shot. (My wrist shot) seems hard for (other goaltenders) to read, so I'm trying to take advantage of that."

The middle session belonged to St. Louis, who scored three goals in under seven minutes and registered his fourth career hat trick.

The first goal was scored midway through the period on the power play. With Carolina's Andrew Hutchinson in the penalty box for tripping, the Lightning dumped the puck into the deep left corner of their offensive zone. Both St. Louis and Brad Richards chased the puck and Richards sent it off the rear boards in an attempt to pass it around to the far side. However, the puck took a strange bounce and caromed out to the goal mouth, where an alert St. Louis poked it home past a surprised Ward.

"They got a bounce - a tough break off the boards," Laviolette said. "They caught a little wind with it and...after that point, we were just scrambling. I think it just zapped our energy."

With less than five minutes remaining in the stanza, St. Louis struck again for a 3-0 Tampa Bay lead. Following a faceoff inside the right circle, Filip Kuba fired a wrist shot from the near point. Ward made the save but allowed a big rebound as St. Louis swooped in, corralled the puck and lit the lamp with a turnaround wrist shot from inside the left circle at 15:22.

The natural hat trick was completed when St. Louis displayed his deadly wrist shot less than two minutes later. The tiny forward streaked down the right- wing side and, from a sharp angle, fired a wrister that beat Ward to the near side with 2:57 to play before the second intermission.

Lecavalier's goal 4:20 into the final period gave the hosts a five-goal cushion. With Tampa Bay on the power play due to an Eric Cole slashing minor, Lecavalier led a 3-on-2 break down the left side. He then drifted toward the slot and deposited a high wrist shot into the back of the cage.

Staal's unassisted short-handed goal -- his sixth of the season -- with 5:15 remaining in regulation capped the scoring.

"We just have to get home, get our rest, re-group tomorrow and come ready to play on Saturday night," said Carolina's Bret Hedican.

Game Notes

The three goals in 6:17 set the TB franchise record for the fastest three goals by one player...St. Louis held the previous record of 9:43 on January 15, 2004, also against Carolina...This marked the third time in club history that a player has notched three goals in a period...The Hurricanes have lost nine of their last 11 games in Tampa...This was a matchup of the two most recent Stanley Cup winners...The Lightning finished 2-for-5 on the power play and held the visitors scoreless on three chances with the extra skater...St. Louis now has five goals this season...Attendance was 19,826.

10/27 00:07:00 ET

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