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NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Tampa Bay

(Tuesday, April 3rd)

Final Score: Tampa Bay 3, Carolina 2

Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Dan Boyle scored the game-winning goal early in the third period as the Tampa Bay Lightning downed the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2, at St. Pete Times Forum.

Vincent Lecavalier and Eric Perrin each added a goal for the Lightning, who have won three straight.

Johan Holmqvist stopped 23 shots for Tampa Bay, which now has 92 points and sits in the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference, tied with the Rangers, who lost in a shootout to the Islanders. Also, Tampa Bay is just one point behind idle Atlanta for first place in the Southeast Division.

"As I've said, the team has some fight in it," said Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella. "From face-off to the end of the game I thought we played solid. And the good thing about it is that we didn't get frustrated, we kept on going and tried to find a way."

Rod Brind'Amour had a goal and an assist and Ray Whitney added a goal for the Hurricanes, who have dropped four of their last five and are now out of the hunt for a playoff spot. Cam Ward stopped 27 shots in the loss.

Carolina is now the first team since the 1995-96 Devils to miss the playoffs after winning the Stanley Cup the previous season.

"Obviously it was our biggest loss of the year," said Carolina forward Cory Stillman. "We had an opportunity to stay in the playoffs and we let one slip away."

Tampa Bay was trailing 2-0 early in the second period, but scored three unanswered goals to take the lead.

The Lightning got on the board at the 8:33 mark of the second when Jason Ward rushed into the Carolina end down the left wing and from the low left side flung a pass over the stick of a Carolina defender to Perrin, who banged the puck into the net out of mid-air to make it a 2-1 game.

Tampa Bay tied the game just 1:20 into the third period when Lecavalier scored on a wrist shot from the slot for his league-leading 52nd goal of the season.

The Lightning then grabbed their first lead of the game less than two minutes later as Boyle grabbed the puck in the neutral zone, split the defense and from the slot snapped a wrister into the left corner of the net for a 3-2 lead.

Holmqvist was called upon several times in the third period to preserve the lead and he stood tall as he stopped 13 shots in the final frame to preserve the victory.

Carolina drew first blood in the game as Whitney poked in the puck on his second attempt during a scrum in front with 7:31 to play in the first.

Ward was busy in the first period as he had to stop 14 Tampa Bay shots to keep the Lightning off the board.

The Hurricanes made it a 2-0 game in the second when Brind'Amour tapped in a loose puck at the right side of the net for his 25th goal of the season during a Carolina power play just 1:25 into the second.

Game Notes

Carolina, which finished the season 19-18-4 on the road, hosts Atlanta on Friday...Tampa Bay hosts Florida on Friday...Tampa Bay took five of eight games against Carolina this season...Carolina went 1-for-3 on the power play while Tampa Bay failed to score in its two chances.

04/04 00:30:43 ET

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