Martin St. Louis scored his 42nd, Vaclav Prospal had a goal and assist, and Filip Kuba broke a third-period tie for the Lightning, who twice rallied from one-goal deficits and moved past the idle New York Rangers into sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Erik Cole and Mike Commodore scored for Carolina, which has lost three straight and is in danger of becoming the first defending Stanley Cup champion to miss the playoffs since New Jersey in 1995. The Hurricanes are tied for 10th in the East, two points below the playoff cutoff with four games remaining.
Kuba’s winner came seconds after a Tampa Bay power play expired. Craig Adams played the puck near the Carolina goal and tried a long pass to Commodore coming out of the penalty box, but Kuba intercepted it behind the left circle and snapped the puck past Cam Ward with 9:25 left, making it 3-2.
Dan Boyle turned in the defensive play of the game by denying Trevor Letowski’s potential tying goal. The puck was about to trickle down behind Tampa Bay goalie Johan Holmqvist, but Boyle swatted the puck out of mid-air
Lecavalier sealed it with about five minutes left, spinning around and backhanding the puck off Carolina defenceman David Tanabe’s stick and through Ward’s legs to make it a two-goal game. Lecavalier had never scored more than 35 goals in his seven previous NHL seasons.
Holmqvist made 26 saves for the Lightning, and Ward stopped 25.
Tampa Bay twice rallied to tie in the opening two periods, the first came late in the first when St. Louis took a pass from Prospal in the left circle and one-timed the puck past Ward’s stick side. St. Louis’ eighth goal in six games against Carolina was his 99th point of the season.
That came after Cole had put Carolina up 1-0 with his 28th goal and first in three games. He positioned himself to the right of Holmqvist and buried the rebound of Cory Stillman’s shot from the slot.
Commodore put the Hurricanes up 2-1 early in the second period, capping a play that started when Niclas Wallin dumped the puck around the boards. Letowski played it behind the net and found Commodore near the back of the left circle, and he shot the puck past Holmqvist with 16:07 left.
But Prospal’s goal made it 2-2 with about four minutes remaining in the second. Tampa Bay won a faceoff in the offensive zone, and Prospal took a cross-ice pass from Lecavalier and backhanded it past Ward.
Notes: St. Louis extended his point streak to five games. … Stillman recorded his 100th point with Carolina on his first-period assist. … Carolina D Glen Wesley missed his second straight game with an injured left foot. … Hurricanes all-star RW Justin Williams has gone eight games without a goal, and has two in his last 14. … Tampa Bay took a 4-3 lead in the series, which concludes Tuesday in Tampa.