February 23, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) watches his 3rd period shot go past the Carolina Hurricanes goalie Dan Ellis (31) at the PNC center. The Lightning defeated the Hurricanes 5-2. Mandatory - Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
The Lightning bounced back from losing to the Boston Bruins to leapfrog the Hurricanes in the standings for first in the SE Division.
The first two periods of the game were very much a goaltending duel. Marc-Andre Bergeron scored unassisted halfway through the first on a deceptive shot that got past a distracted Dan Ellis, but that was all there was. Both Ellis and Mathieu Garon made some outstanding saves on a number of breakaways.
The first period was definitely a better period for the Lightning. They were shooting more, had the puck more in their zone. The second period sort of slid towards the Hurricanes end. But despite that, the Lightning still led going into the third period, and that's when things broke wide open.
Benoit Pouliot, who has turned out to be a great pickup for the Lightning, scored a little over two minutes into the third. Then the Hurricanes answered almost a minute later. Four minutes later, Richard Panik scored his first ever NHL goal. And that was followed by a goal by Tom Pyatt 18 seconds later. Then the Hurricanes scored once more before Steven Stamkos put the lid on the game with his 12th goal of the year.
The rookies came up pretty big in this game. Not only did Panik get his first NHL goal, but both Cory Conacher and Alex Killorn set up two other goals as well. All three figured into three of the five Lightning goals. Not bad for just being rookies, right?
All in all, it was a good team effort by Tampa Bay for pretty much a full 60 minutes. And against a Southeast Division team, so the points meant more than usual. With this win, the Lightning actually leapfrog over Carolina to take over the top of the division once more.
The next game is tomorrow at the Pittsburgh Penguins. Game time is at 7:30 pm ET. The Raw Charge game thread will be available 30 minutes before the game at 7 o'clock. Come join us!