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St. Louis notches natural hat trick in Lightning's 5-1 win over Hurricanes

St. Louis broke his own mark for the fastest three goals in team history, completing a hat trick in a 6:17 span of the second period in the Tampa Bay Lightning's 5-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. "I got a lot of chances, and I was able to capitalize on some of them," said St. Louis, who had six shots. "That's the difference tonight from many nights so far this year. It's nice to get rewarded for those chances you get and that you create."

St. Louis also set the previous Lightning record against the Hurricanes, scoring three times in a 9:43 stretch of the first period in a 5-4 victory on Jan. 15, 2004.

He had just two goals in his first eight games this season.

Ruslan Fedotenko and Vincent Lecavalier also scored for the Lightning, who have won four of five. Marc Denis made 23 saves.

"It was nice to see Marty light it up," Denis said. "He's one of the most dangerous players in the NHL."

Stanley Cup champion Carolina, 4-2-1 in its last seven games, got a short-handed goal from Eric Staal with 5:15 to play. Cam Ward was replaced by former Lightning goalie John Grahame after allowing four goals on 21 shots through two periods.

"Cam would probably like to have one or two of them back," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said.

Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead on St. Louis' power-play goal at 10:46 of the second. Brad Richards was in the left corner when he sent a pass off the end boards. The puck wound up trickling in front of the net to St. Louis.

"It was a lucky bounce, and you'll take those any day," St. Louis said.

St. Louis made it 3-0 on a rebound goal with 4:38 left in the second, and completed his fourth career hat trick from the right circle with 2:57 to go.

"It's one of those things where he was hot tonight," Hurricanes defenceman Bret Hedican said. "Everything he was shooting was going in the net. He had a couple of opportunities and buried it."

Fedotenko put the Lightning ahead 1-0 at 7:02 of the first. Lecavalier scored a third-period power-play goal.

"Sometimes you can't control the bounces," Tampa Bay defenceman Dan Boyle said. "We all know you can control your work ethic. If you work harder than the other team, most night's you're going to win. Tonight I thought we worked harder than they did and we got some bounces."

Notes: Mikael Renberg is only other Lightning player to score three goals in a period. He did it against Florida on March 21, 1998. . . . Carolina D David Tanabe (upper body) missed his second straight game. Hurricanes D Niclas Wallin (lower body) sat out his third consecutive game.


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