The Tampa Bay Lightning (12-15-1) beat the Southeast Division rival Carolina Hurricanes (15-11-1) 4-1 in their most complete game in a while, snapping a five-game home losing streak at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Saturday night. Prior to the win, Tampa Bay had only won two of their previous ten games.
Tyler Johnson (1st) and Ondrej Palat (1st) each tallied their first-career NHL goals in the 4-1 win against Carolina. The Lightning also got a breakaway goal from Nate Thompson (6th) and a third period goal from Teddy Purcell (5th), who put the game out of reach.
Lightning goaltender Mathieu Garon was solid throughout, stopping 21 of the 22 shots that he faced in the game for his third win of the season.
Just shy of 11 minutes into the first period, the Lightning were able to get on the board. Shortly after the Hurricanes killed off a minor penalty, Johnson (1st) found himself all alone in front of the net after a nice pass from fellow rookie Alex Killorn and sniped a wrist shot over the glove-hand of Justin Peters for his first NHL goal, giving the Lightning a 1-0 lead.
The Lightning played a solid first period, limiting Carolina’s scoring chances and making the most of their own. Tampa Bay held a 10-8 advantage in shots in the opening frame.
Tampa Bay upped their lead at 6:35 of the second period, when Johnson won a puck battle in the corner and passed the puck out to Sami Salo, who unleashed a rocket of a slap shot that deflected off of the skate of Palat (1st) and past Peters for his first career NHL goal as well, making it a 2-0 game. The Lightning had no intentions of stopping there. At 12:55, the Lightning increased their lead to 3-0 when B.J. Crombeen made a great neutral zone pass to Thompson (6th), who skated in on a breakaway and flipped a shot over the shoulder of Peters.
The Lightning didn’t give the Hurricanes a glimpse of hope in the third period, as Purcell (5th) backhanded a shot that beat Peters just under four minutes into the period, giving the Lightning a 4-0 lead. On the goal, Martin St. Louis notched his 30th assist of the season.
Carolina answered back with a goal less than three minutes later when Eric Staal released the only shot of the game that beat Garon, cutting the Carolina deficit to 4-1. After surrendering the goal, the Lightning played solid at both ends of the ice to secure their victory.
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Currently covering all things that is the Tampa Bay Lightning for The Hockey Writers. Follow him on Twitter: @Matt_Metcalf