TAMPA, Fla. – The Carolina Hurricanes extended their modest winning streak by overcoming a slow start.
Joni Pitkanen and Justin Williams each had a goal and an assist, and the Hurricanes rallied from an early two-goal deficit for a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.
“We didn’t press when we were down 2-0,” Williams said. “We didn’t force anything and let them have odd-man rushes because that’s where they’re dangerous.”
Chad LaRose also scored for the Hurricanes, who have won three straight and 7 of 10.
“It’s a good comeback win, and a big two points for us,” LaRose said. “We’re starting to trust each other. We’re starting to have big wins.”
The Lightning got goals from Ryan Craig and Vinny Prospal. Tampa Bay has lost three in a row and 20 of 25.
“Everybody’s frustrated,” Lightning forward Martin St. Louis said. “But nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. We’ve just got to keep plugging.”
Carolina took its first lead, 3-2, on Pitkanen’s goal from the left point at 6:21 of the second.
“We have to block that shot,” St. Louis said. “We’ve got to make it harder on defence to take shots from the point. They’ve got to miss the net.”
Tampa Bay converted two Carolina turnovers into a pair of goals one minute, 36 seconds apart by Craig (5:05) and Prospal (6:41) for a 2-0 first-period lead.
The Hurricanes tied it later in the first on goals by Williams, during a power play at 14:46, and LaRose 1:11 later.
“I thought the first 10 minutes we came out flying,” Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said. “The next 10 minutes they took over. We threw a puck away, got a penalty and they got the momentum.”
The Lightning are 5-17 in games decided by one goal.
Tampa Bay defenceman Andrej Meszaros left in the final minute of the second after being cut above the mouth by Anton Babchuk’s shot. He received stitches post-game for the injury.
Lightning left wing Ryan Malone blocked a shot by Sergei Samsonov when Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith was caught out of position after making an errant pass nine minutes into the game.
Notes: Carolina RW Patrick Eaves (upper body) didn’t play. The Hurricanes recalled RW Patrick Dwyer from Albany of the AHL. … Tampa Bay recalled D Ty Wishart on an emergency basis from Norfolk (AHL). The Lightning are without defencemen Paul Ranger (upper body), Lukas Krajicek (upper body) and Jamie Heward (concussion). … Carolina D Niclas Wallin (lower body) returned after missing 12 games. … Tampa Bay LW Jussi Jokinen, who hasn’t scored a goal in 21 games, was first announced as a healthy scratch. The team said after the game that he didn’t play due to a lower-body injury. … Craig’s goal was his first in 25 games.