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O'Brien scores two, Lightning beat Hurricanes 5-1 for first road win of season

RALEIGH, N.C. - The Tampa Bay Lightning needed more than a month to get their first road win.

Shane O'Brien scored two goals to lead the Lightning past the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 on Thursday night, ending Tampa Bay's seven-game losing streak on the road in surprisingly easy fashion against the Southeast Division leaders.

Vincent Lecavalier, Filip Kuba and Vaclav Prospal each scored for the Lightning, while Prospal and Michel Ouellet added two early assists as Tampa Bay won consecutive games following a six-game losing streak.

The Lightning also got 40 saves from Johan Holmqvist, who tallied an impressive diving glove stop on Erik Cole's short putaway during one of Carolina's few power plays midway through the second period.

It was the kind of performance the Lightning desperately needed after being outscored 32-13 away from home this year.

"This is huge," said O'Brien, whose first two goals of the season came in a game against Atlanta last week. "We'll probably look at the video and I'm sure we made a few mistakes. But to come in here against a team that's playing very well and get two points the way we did is great for our team."

Making it sweeter was that it came against the Hurricanes, who were 5-1-1 at home this year.

Ray Whitney scored early in the third to break up Holmqvist's shutout bid for Carolina, which had little to feel good about after this one. The Hurricanes entered with the NHL's top offence - tallying 58 goals and averaging 3.87 per contest - and ranked No. 2 on the power play, but struggled to get going as the Lightning scored two goals in both the first and second periods to turn this into a rout.

Holmqvist played a big part of that, making countless tough saves even as the Hurricanes fired shot after shot at the net in a desperate effort to get back in the game.

He also had some good luck, too. Shortly after he stopped Cole on the power play, he tried to stop a slap shot from Jeff Hamilton, only to have the puck bounce off his glove and over his head. But instead of dropping inside the crossbar, the puck landed on top of the goal before sliding harmlessly off the side of the net.

"Sometimes you can find holes in a goaltender and sometimes he stands tall and has his angles," Carolina winger Justin Williams said. "When he didn't see shots, they hit him. And when he saw them, he saved them. He stopped us from having any momentum."

It was Holmqvist's second strong performance in as many nights. He finished with 22 saves in Wednesday's 3-1 win against Florida.

"My body felt good today and I felt sharp right away," he said.

His skaters provided enough offence to keep him relaxed. Lecavalier buried a short shot on the right side for the early lead midway through the first period, and O'Brien scored a pair of opportunistic goals.

He scored the first while Carolina appeared to be in position for its own goal before a turnover led to 2-on-1 chance the other way for the Lightning. Cam Ward stopped Ouellet's shot on the right side, but O'Brien skated in to bury the loose rebound and make it 2-0 after 20 minutes.

Later, with Carolina on a power play, O'Brien skated out of the penalty box just as Tampa Bay gained possession in its own end. Andreas Karlsson sent a pass off the boards ahead to O'Brien, who was a step behind David Tanabe and buried the breakaway past Ward to make it 4-0 late in the second.

Notes: Lecavalier and Prospal each pushed their point streak to four games ... Carolina's Ward and Hamilton each played in their 100th NHL games. ... Carolina fell to 0-3 when it trails after the first period, while Tampa Bay improved to 6-1 when leading after the first. ... Carolina C Matt Cullen pushed his assist streak to eight games, tying a record for the former Hartford Whalers franchise since it relocated to North Carolina in 1997. ... Carolina LW Cory Stillman ended an eight-game point streak. ... Tampa Bay hadn't won consecutive games since starting the season 3-0.


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