Staal, Ruutu help Hurricanes blow past Lightning

TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) — All-Star Eric Staal recorded four
goals and two assists and Tuomo Ruutu scored two goals and set
up two others as the Carolina Hurricanes thwarted the Tampa Bay
Lightning, 9-3, on Saturday.

Joe Corvo, captain Rod Brind’Amour and defenseman Anton Babchuk
registered a goal and assist apiece and Erik Cole notched four
assists for the Hurricanes, who swept the season series with
Tampa Bay for the first time in franchise history since the
1996-97 Hartford Whalers won all four meetings.

“That was a great game,” Brind’Amour said. “Everything (Staal)
touched tonight was gold. It’s good to see. We’ve had a tough
year scoring goals, so it was nice to see the puck go in

Captain Vincent Lecavalier and Ryan Malone each scored a goal
and set up another and All-Star Martin St. Louis also tallied
for the Lightning, who fell to 2-7-2 in their last 11 games.

“I think we have some guys that are in shape,” Tampa Bay coach
Rick Tocchet said. “If you don’t work on the ice, it’s going to
be a little boot camp. It’s a humbling experience for all of
us. We have goalies out, defensemen out and we have injuries,
but there’s no excuse for some players.

“You need to roll your sleeves up and go to work, meet the
challenges and (face) the adversity or you can go hide. And I’m
not going to hide. I know my coaching staff isn’t going to

Staal led the charge by scoring twice in a span of 2 minutes, 39
seconds midway through the first and Babchuk gave Carolina a 3-0
bulge with 9:51 remaining in the session. St. Louis put Tampa
Bay on the board with 7:17 left.

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Corvo netted his 12th goal of the season at 2:41 of the second
to kick off a six-goal period – one away from tying a franchise
record – and Brind’Amour scored a power-play tally 67 seconds

“We’ve been pretty solid,” Hurricanes coach Paul Maurice said.
“Every once in a while one of these games happens. You don’t
have to get too excited about it. You just hope everybody gets
through the game, nobody gets hurt and you go on to the next

“Clearly they’re (Tampa) at a different stage right now then we
are and the dangerous part is that they still have two or three
of the best players in the National Hockey League and they make
it tough sometimes.”

Ruutu registered a goal with the man advantage at 6:03 of the
period and Staal added two more goals in a four-minute span
shortly thereafter. It was the third time – the first since Ron
Francis on February 12, 1984, against Edmonton – that a
Hartford-Carolina player had four goals in a contest.

“It’s one of those games that don’t happen very often,” Staal
said. “It was a good win for our team, which was the bottom
line. But it’s fun getting points and being on the offensive
side of the game.”

Ruutu capped the rally with his 19th goal of the season with 27
seconds remaining in the session, taking a pass from Staal and
firing a hard slap shot from the slot into the vacant net.

Lecavalier notched his 28th goal at 3:30 of the third and Malone
struck less than six minutes later against Cam Ward, who stopped
22 shots for Carolina.