Game 42: Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Lightning

Style points may be pretty to look at, but you run the risk of getting distracted admiring them. Following a valiant comeback effort against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday (earning a point after overcoming a two goal deficit before losing in a shootout), the Lightning followed up with one of their worst efforts of the season.

"I would say this is the hardest one to take this year. We always talk about work ethic first, attitude and then discipline. In the first period, we had none of those, so we don't deserve the game." - Lightning head coach Guy Boucher.

This was a somewhat pivotal game in that a win could have brought the Lightning to within six points of the conference's final playoff spot while the loss narrows the gap between Tampa Bay and the last place Hurricanes to a single point.

"I don't know what it is. It's unacceptable. We know what we have to do. we played a good game against one of the best teams in the league in Vancouver and we have this tough of a time against a team that's almost in the same situation as us." - Steven Stamkos

So did the Lightning fall victim to being so enamored with that effort against the Canucks that they simply overlooked the Huricanes?

"I would like to say no, but you know what? We get up for the big games against big teams and I don't think we're being very respectful to teams like Carolina or anyone else who is a little lower in the standings or isn't one of the top three teams in the conference. We can't have that. Period. We're not in a position to think we're better than any other team." - Boucher

A bad giveaway from behind the net led to Carolina opening the scoring at 3:27 into the first, when Tuomo Ruutu scored on assists from Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty.

A liitle more than a minute later, it was 2-0 when Tlusty scored on an assist from Staal at 4:41. This was immediately followed by the Lightning taking their time out.

Nate Thompson gave the Lightning some life when he scored unassisted on a breakaway at 14:36.

That lasted less than a minute as Jay Harrison scored with help from Ruutu and Justin Faulk at 15:10, on the Hurricanes' fourth shot of the game. At that point, starting goaltender Mathieu Garon was replaced by Dwayne Roloson. It was the second time in his past three starts that Garon had been chased.

The Hurricanes scored their fourrth goal of the period when Tlusty scored on assists from Staal and Ruutu at 16:18. The net was dislodged on the play but a review determined that the the puck crossed the goal line first.

Looking for a spark of some sort, Ryan Malone fought Jay Harrison.The period ended with Carolina on top, 4-1.

Teddy Purcell halved the lead when he scored at 2:49 on assists from Bruno Gervais and Steven Stamkos.That was the only goal scored during the period and it ended 4-2, Carolina.

That's as close...and as good as it got for the Lightning.

Carolina's Tim Brent scored on assists from Anthony Stewart and Harrison at 13:41 to cap the score at 5-2 and send most of the crowd of 16,553 (the season's smallest so far) towards the exits.

The Lightning head to Washington tomorrow to take on the Capitals. They return home on Sunday to face the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Game notes:

  • Tonight was the fourth time in the Lightning's last 12 games (sixth in the last 15) that they didn't score the game's first goal. They're 11-8-2 when scoring first and 6-13-2 when the opponent scores first.
  • Thompson's goal was his first since December 15.
  • The Lightning honored Avi Davidson as a Lightning Community Hero during the first period of tonight’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes. Davidson, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will divide the money among his charities of choice, Tampa Jewish Family Services, Chai Lifeline, Gift of Life and Chabad. Just 18 years old, Davidson’s attitude of pure optimism has propelled him to serve others with compassion. Despite suffering from paralysis, Davidson continues to volunteer hours at Tampa Jewish Family Services, acting as a mentor to fellow teenagers and adults, serving as a leader in the congregation’s youth group and holding numerous positions in both local and regional Jewish youth organizations. The dramatic accident that severely injured Davidson over two years ago has only been incentive for him to be more active in the community and to better serve others. In the fall of 2009, Davidson was taking photographs of the sunset and didn’t realize until too late that the pole he had climbed from which to shoot pictures was an electric pole. The fall from the pole left him with second and third degree burns over the majority of his body plus the loss of his dominant hand, while also paralyzing him from the waist down. Even after coming out of a coma and spending months in the hospital, Davidson’s attitude was one characterized by gratitude for another chance at life. He is committed to living a full and meaningful life and firmly believes his second chance will not be wasted. He is determined to leave his mark on his community. This summer, Davidson had the opportunity to attend a summer camp in New York, Camp Simcha Special, where he inspired and motivated hundreds of youth as he spoke about his injury, recovery and unwavering faith. Davidson also recently started volunteering at the Tampa Veterans' Administration, focusing on the needs of those with spinal cord injuries. He has been a supportive volunteer at the "A-Package-from-Home" program and other programs supporting the military. In October 2011, and in commemoration of his second year of survival, Davidson co-managed a Tampa Bay Bone Marrow testing drive with the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation for those suffering life-threatening illnesses. He is currently working to complete his high school education at Gaither High School, where he is an honors student.
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