The Carolina Hurricanes had a productive first period scoring three goals, then let Dan Ellis take care of the rest to win their game against the Tampa Bay Lighting, 3-2, on Sunday night.
The top line for the Hurricanes took control of the game early on when Alexander Semin scored just 16 seconds into the game. Semin’s goal came after Eric Staal stripped the puck from Steven Stamkos behind the Lightning net, then fed the Russian forward in the right circle, who ripped the puck past Anders Lindback.
Jiri Tlusty had Carolina’s other two goals and Staal and Semin contributed two assists, creating a seven-point game for the first line. Staal and Semin also recorded their 31st assists of the year, while Tlusty broke the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career.
Tlusty’s first goal came right after a Hurricane power-play ended when he tried to pass the puck to Semin across the slot, but instead hit Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman‘s skate and ricocheted into the net.
The left winger’s 21st of the year was scored after he muscled a puck off of Ryan Malone‘s stick while the Lighting forward tried handling a Staal rebound in the crease.
The trio almost added more points to their game twice in a five-second span when one of Staal’s passes deflected off of Eric Brewer‘s skate and into the crease. The puck did not fully cross the line before Brewer swatted the puck away. Then Semin collected the puck and shot past Lindback, but was ruled off because Tlusty had interfered with the goalie.
The second and third periods featured goals from only Lightning players. Steven Stamkos scored on the power-play with one of his patented one-timers on the half boards and Martin St. Louis scored in the third period off of a face-off win by Vincent Lecavalier. St. Louis found himself open in front of the net putting a deke on Ellis and then back-handing the puck into the open net.
However, Ellis closed the gates from there stopping all of Tampa Bay’s opportunities playing in one of his strongest games in a while. The former Nashville Predator made 37 saves to earn the win.