NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Carolina
(Friday, March 30th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, Carolina 2
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Vincent Lecavalier scored his 50th goal of the season and added a pair off assists, as Tampa Bay downed Carolina, 4-2, in a matchup full of playoff implications at RBC Center.
With time winding down in the game and the Lightning holding a one-goal lead, Lecavalier stormed into the zone along the left wing, spun to his backhand and then released a shot that caromed off a defenseman's stick before slipping past Cam Ward.
The standout center's previous high in a season was 35 goals, set last year.
Martin St. Louis scored his 42nd marker of the season and Johan Holmqvist made 26 saves for the Lightning, who jumped the idle New York Rangers to temporarily assume sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Erik Cole and Mike Commodore both lit the lamp for defending Stanley Cup champion Carolina, which remains two points behind Montreal for the eighth and final playoff spot. Montreal fell 5-2 to Ottawa on Friday.
Ward surrendered four goals on 29 shots to take the loss.
The Hurricanes opened up the scoring 6:25 into the first, as Cole picked up some loose change along the left side of the net and fired it past a falling Holmqvist.
St. Louis tied it at 1-1 with a shot from the left circle that found room short side, but Carolina reclaimed the lead on a tally by Commodore 3:53 into the middle stanza.
The Lightning took over from there, however, scoring the final three goals to snatch the victory.
Vaclav Prospal netted the equalizer with 4:01 left in the second, punching in a cross-crease feed from Lecavalier.
Filip Kuba then capitalized on a turnover midway through the third with a wrister from the point that made it through traffic in front and in to put the Lightning ahead for good. Lecavalier iced the win with his 50th with 4:33 on the clock.
St. Louis now has 99 points on the year. He is trying to become just the second player in team history to reach the 100-point mark in a season. Lecavalier became the first to do it when he reached the plateau last Saturday...Tampa Bay won despite going 0-for-7 on the power play. Carolina went 0-for-4 with the man advantage.
03/30 22:49:52 ET