NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Tampa Bay
(Saturday, March 29th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 2, Carolina 1
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Karri Ramo made 38 saves, including a circus catch with his glove in the final seconds, to help the Tampa Bay Lightning top Carolina, 2-1, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Jussi Jokinen had a goal and an assist for Tampa Bay, which has won two of three. Jeff Halpern also tallied for the Lightning, who had lost two straight to the Hurricanes.
Chad LaRose scored Carolina's lone goal, as the Hurricanes fell dangerously close to a tie atop the Southeast Division standings with Washington. The Capitals shut out Florida on Saturday, and improved to 88 points on the season -- just two behind Carolina. A pivotal matchup comes Tuesday, as the Hurricanes travel to Washington.
Cam Ward stopped 19-of-21 shots in the loss.
"We wanted this one, but it didn't happen, and we've got to look forward," Carolina's Eric Staal said. "We missed a few plays, but their goaltender made some big saves as well."
With the score tied after two periods of play, Halpern scored what became the game-winner at the 5:43 mark of the third. Halpern got the puck just as he crossed the blue line, skated into the right circle, and ripped a shot high over Ward's left shoulder.
"I wanted to beat him, I don't think I've beaten the guy (Ward) one-on-one in 15 years," Halpern said. "And he opened up a little bit, and I took a shot high that I wasn't really aiming, it just found a hole."
The 'Canes, though, had three power-play opportunities to try and tie the game. But Tampa Bay killed off all three, the last of which started with 2:10 left.
Carolina applied heavy pressure on the Tampa Bay end, and kept the puck in its offensive zone as the power play ran out. A shot from the right side of the ice, with just seconds remaining, was deflected and sent in a high arc toward the net.
Ramo decided to leap in the air for the puck, trying to grab it with his mitt. Despite a crowd of players in front of him, he caught it, and fell to the ice with 0.7 showing. One short faceoff later, the Lightning secured the win.
Prior to the game, Lightning captain Tim Taylor made it known he will not play another game for the club before retiring at season's end. He revealed his intentions during a question-and-answer session with fans outside the arena. Taylor has missed the entire season because of off-season hip surgery.
After the contest started, Carolina got on the scoreboard first with 2:36 remaining in the opening period. On a Hurricanes rush, LaRose received a pass in the slot and held the puck while Ramo -- trying to defend a shot -- slid clear across the crease, exposing the net. LaRose deposited the puck for a 1-0 'Canes lead.
But just 18 seconds into the second frame, Jokinen tied the game on the power play. Dan Boyle sent a blue line-to-blue line pass, hitting Jokinen in stride as he crossed into the Carolina zone. Jokinen skated in alone, and backhanded the puck between Ward's pads. Ramo stopped 14 shots in the period to keep the Hurricanes off the board.
Tampa Bay was 1-for-6 on power plays, while Carolina converted none of its seven opportunities...The clubs complete the season series on April 2, with the Lightning winning four of the seven meetings thus far....In 746 career NHL games with Detroit, Boston, the New York Rangers, and Tampa Bay, Taylor, primarily a checking forward, compiled 73 goals and 94 assists. He also helped the Lightning win the Stanley Cup in 2004.
03/29 23:19:51 ET