NHL Game Summary - Carolina at Tampa Bay
(Saturday, December 22nd)
Final Score: Carolina 4, Tampa Bay 1
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Ray Whitney scored two third-period goals and assisted on another to help the Carolina Hurricanes bottle up the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-1, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Andrew Ladd and Eric Staal also scored, and Cam Ward made 29 saves for the Hurricanes, who have won three of four.
"We regrouped well after that first goal of the game," said Whitney. "This team (Tampa Bay) has been a problem for us obviously the last 10 games or so, and I think tonight, patience was what won it for us. Our defense was better in our zone and we kept trying to create as much as we could."
Martin St. Louis registered the lone goal for Tampa Bay, which has dropped four of five. Karri Ramo allowed two goals on 35 shots in his second NHL start (1-1-0).
"I'm dissatisfied with the consistency of our best players," said Lightning coach John Tortorella. "The third period bothered me. Our bench was dead."
Whitney broke a 1-1 tie at 9:31 of the third period. Cory Stillman, skating down the far boards, placed a perfect cross-ice pass on the blade of Whitney, flying down the slot. Whitney then roofed the puck over the glove of Ramo.
Tampa Bay pulled its goaltender in an effort to force overtime, but Whitney buried the puck into the empty net with one minute left to ice the win.
Staal added another empty-net tally with three seconds remaining.
St. Louis opened the scoring 23 seconds into the game with a wrister that bounced off Ward and defenseman Glen Wesley before trickling across the goal line.
The Hurricanes tied the game when Ladd powered his way to the front of the net and knocked in a rebound with 1:56 remaining before the first intermission. Ward stopped Matt Cullen's initial shot from the right circle, but failed to corral the puck.
Tampa Bay outshot the Hurricanes 15-8 in a scoreless second period, but it didn't lack action. Mathieu Darche scored with 1:09 remaining, but after a lengthy review, the officials waved the goal off because Darche kicked the puck into the net.
Carolina's Erik Cole had a shot ring off the post in the final seconds of the frame.
Tampa Bay had won seven of the last eight meetings...Carolina had dropped three straight, four of five and eight of its previous 10 tilts at the Forum...The teams will not meet again until March 1...Wesley appeared in the 1,416th game of his career, tying him with Hall-of-Famer Al MacInnis for seventh on the list of all-time games played by a defenseman...Brandon Nolan, making his NHL debut, recorded the first point of his NHL career with the secondary assist on Ladd's goal...Both teams return to action on Wednesday. Tampa Bay visits Washington, while the Hurricanes travel to New York to battle the Rangers.
12/22 23:53:57 ET