Game 33: Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Carolina Hurricanes

The Tampa Bay Lightning won their fourth consecutive game last night against the Carolina Hurricanes.

It started out as a question of parallels--both teams coming off the winning streak, both teams handling surprise changes in goal--but finished with the Bolts winning 5-1 against the Canes, and disproving the parallel notion entirely.

Both teams started with aggressive speed, as early roughing penalties were given to both Victor Hedman and Jussi Jokinen at 1:16, forcing an early 4-on-4, which turned into a 3-on-4 a minute later when Brett Clark joined Victor Hedman in the box for tripping at 2:26. But the Bolts maintained a successful penalty kill, and regained poise in minutes with Dominic Moore's early even strength goal five minutes in. Moore drove down the left wing of the ice for a quick shot against Canes goaltender Justin Peters for an early 1-0 Lightning lead.

The Bolts maintained a decent effort against Carolina, but gave one up to Sergei Samsonov's power play goal fifteen minutes in. Samsonov drove it in from the right, which fell nicely behind Ellis who was too far in front of the net to save it.

Tied at 1-1, the Bolts continued to fight, and kept up the even effort until 19:59, when Martin St. Louis pulled a repeat from Saturday, scoring in the last second of the period. The goal was a surprise to all, including St. Louis, who apparently didn't realize it had gone in until Stamkos told him. The Bolts finished the first period ahead at 2-1, but tied with the Canes for 11 shots on goal for an interesting though not brilliant period.

Steven Stamkos noted afterwards the effect of scoring in the last minute, saying it was "huge" for their momentum. "We come in on a high, they came in on a low." The results of the second period certainly reflected this, as the Lightning saw three more goals in the period to reach the final score of 5-1.

Clark scored the third Lightning goal on a shot from the center blue line, which slid through the defense and past Peters, to raise the score 3-1 five minutes into the second. Following, the Lightning power play led to Stamkos' goal, which was, more remarkably, his 100th career goal.

The goal also marks him Stamkos as the sixth youngest NHL player to score 100 goals before the age of 21, with Wayne Gretzky leading as the youngest overall. Stammmer took the accomplishment quietly, per usual, and said that considering the winning streak, he was "just happy to chip in." (Read more about the 100th goal here.)

Still in the second, with two minutes left, Clark took another drill from the center blue line, which was tipped in by Sean Bergenheim for the fifth Lightning goal. Shots from the second alone were 18 compared to Carolina's 2, which speaks to the revamped intensity in the second.

The Bolts carried the stamina through till the end, and sealed the win against Carolina at 5-1.

A note on injuries: Brett Clark was taken to the hospital as a cautionary move. According to Boucher, Clark "got it where it hurts," which is, I think, all that needs to be said. Ryan Malone was also pulled in the third period, another precautionary move that was driven by the four point lead.

And in the Southeast division, the Lightning are now seated second, sandwiched between the Atlanta Thrashers and Washington Capitals, the Caps seated nicely at third.

It was a pretty stellar game last night, with several more things that could be said, including Vincent Lecavalier, who had a 71% faceoff win percentage, and six shots on goal. Vinny's return is proving, perhaps, to be exceptionally important to this team.

With these results, we'll look forward to Wednesday's game against the New York Islanders in Long Island at 7:00 PM, so come on over and join us for the game thread. You know you want to.

Other recaps:

Hurricanes vs Lightning coverage [SB Nation]

Hurricanes vs Lightning recap [TSN]

Hurricanes vs Lightning boxscore [TSN]

Canes Country [SB Nation]

Correction: There were three penalties given in the opening of the first before Moore's goal, to Hedman, Jokinen, and Clark, which resulted in one penalty kill.