The Carolina Hurricanes held off Steven Stamkos and the Tampa Bay Lightning last night for a 4-2 win over a Southeast Division foe. The first star of the night was certainly Jeff Skinner with two goals for the night. In fact, the whole second line performed well last night, and were on the ice for and played a factor in every goal against the Bolts. Cam Ward, being his normal Cam Ward self, made some amazing saves and stopped 36 shots last night, not allowing a Tampa Bay goal after the first period. Ward is one away from 200 NHL wins.
Perhaps the only bad news from the triumphant victory was Jiri Tlusty leaving the game in the second with an upper body injury after a hit from every Caniac’s good friend Steven Stamkos. Tlusty is doubtful for tonight’s game against the Panthers.
Tampa Bay lit the lamp shortly into the first period with a goal from Ryan Malone. Just over two minutes later, the Canes capitalize on their Power Play opportunity with a signature blue line slap from Jaro Spacek with some help from Jamie McBain and Jussi Jokinen. The second line would put the Canes ahead with a goal from Jeff Skinner and assists from his line mates Jokinen and Chad LaRose.The Lightning would tie it up at the end of the first with a goal from Nate Thompson.
And that as they say, would be all she wrote for the Lightning in this game.
Neither team would score in the second, and although it was early in the game, I bet many Canes fans were still worrying about overtime possibilities.
But Jeff Skinner would save us from overtime fate with a goal from a ridiculous angle to us, but probably old hat for him. Is it possible that Skinny feels our Tampa Bay pain? The boy wonder has eight goals and 11 points in 10 games against Tampa Bay. The Lightning would pull call up goalie Dustin Tokarski for the extra man in the final minute, but Chad LaRose would hustle for an empty net goal with just over 20 seconds left in the game.
After the game, Coach Kirk Muller said Captain Eric Staal was very ill and had been questionable for the game. Despite that, Staal played almost 18 minutes against Tampa Bay. Don’t spread whatever that is around the locker room Staalsy!
The Canes did a good job of staying out of the box and killing off the deadly Tampa Bay Power Play. Someone must have been listening to me yesterday (or, you know, I guess they might know a thing or two about playing Tampa Bay) because Stamkos did not even notch an assist last night. This was the last time the Canes would meet the Lightning this season – so score your 50th against some other team Spicoli!
Not only did the Canes stop Stamkos, but they also snapped Teddy Purcell’s 11 game point streak. Permission to do a happy dance now.
The Canes will travel to the east coast of Florida tonight to take on the Florida Panthers, who sit at the top of the Southeast Division. The Hurricanes obviously need the two points for any shot at the playoffs, so let’s get Cam that 200th win tonight!
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Topics: Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes, Chad LaRose, Dustin Tokarski, Eric Staal, Jamie McBain, Jaro Spacek, Jeff Skinner, Jiri Tlusty, Jussi Jokinen, Nate Thompson, Ryan Malone, Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning, Teddy Purcell