NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Carolina
(Wednesday, March 10th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, Carolina 2
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Dan Boyle and Tim Taylor each posted a goal and an assist, as the NHL-leading Tampa Bay Lightning continued their stellar play with a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at RBC Center.
Dave Andreychuk and Ruslan Fedotenko also scored for the Lightning, who have earned a point in each of their last 17 games (13-0-2-2). With 93 points, Tampa Bay, which already has been crowned the Southeast Division champions, now leads both Detroit and Philadelphia for the overall league lead by three.
John Grahame allowed two goals on 33 shots in the victory. The Lightning have not lost in regulation since February 3, a 2-1 setback at Washington.
"We didn't play well," said Tampa Bay head coach John Tortorella. "But...our goaltending was good, we scored a power-play goal and our penalty killing was good."
Jesse Boulerice and Radim Vrbata produced the goals for Carolina, which remained winless in its last five home games (0-3-1-1). The contest marked the club's first without veteran center Ron Francis, who was shipped to Toronto on Tuesday. Hurricanes' goaltender Arturs Irbe made just 12 saves.
With the score even at 2-2 in the final session, the visitors took the lead with 13:17 to play. Taylor corralled the puck behind the Carolina goal and patiently looked for an open teammate. Finally, Boyle found open ice below the right circle and ripped home his eighth goal low to the far side.
"He's progressed," Tortorella said of Boyle's play this season. "He has slowly found his way...and his production offensively has steadily grown."
Later in the period, the Hurricanes gained a power-play when Dimitry Afanasenkov was sent to the box for high-sticking. Several open looks from the point were fired on net by Carolina, but none found the back of the net. At one point during the man advantage, Grahame lost his stick, but the Hurricanes remained unsuccessful before Taylor's marker into the empty cage sealed the victory.
Two quick goals in the early stages of the first period put Tampa Bay ahead 2-0.
First, while on the power play, the puck came back to Cory Stillman at the left point. His shot was deflected by Andreychuk and it found the back of the net at 2:15.
Under a minute later, Martin St. Louis held control at the left circle and fired a pass that was intended for Vincent Lecavalier on the far side. However, the puck deflected off Carolina blueliner Niclas Wallin and directly to Fedotenko, who beat Irbe from the left hash mark.
"There were a couple of real bad plays in the first three minutes, and it cost us two goals," said Carolina coach Peter Laviolette. "After that, we played a pretty good hockey game."
Midway through the first, the Hurricanes cut their deficit in half when Boulerice blasted home a one-timer from the slot with 10:20 remaining.
Just before seven minutes had been completed in the second stanza, Vrbata's 10th goal evened the contest at two apiece. The play was made possible courtesy of a great individual effort by Kevyn Adams.
Skating with the puck through the neutral zone, Adams weaved his way past several Lightning players and streaked down the left-wing side. At the circle, he sent a crisp cross-ice pass to Vrbata, who was all alone at the weak-side wing and wristed the disc past Grahame at the 6:58 mark.
Tampa played with new defenseman Stan Neckar, who was acquired before Tuesday's trade deadline in a deal with Nashville...Carolina received a fourth-round draft pick in 2005 for Francis...The Lightning are unbeaten in the last 10 meetings with Carolina (6-0-4) and are also 3-1-4 in their last eight trips to the RBC Center...Tampa Bay ended 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Hurricanes were scoreless on four chances with the extra skater.
03/11 00:37:02 ET