RALEIGH-- Center Steven Stamkos recorded his second straight three point game to help lead the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 6-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. The win was the Lightning's seventh straight overall & also gave Head Coach Jon Cooper his 300th win. Cooper is only the second coach in NHL history to reach 300 wins by his 500th NHL game.
Tampa Bay entered the game having won six straight & with wins over Carolina in their previous two meetings this year. But it was the Hurricanes that got the game's first solid scoring chance. But Domingue, who improved to 13-1 in his last 14 games, was able to turn aside a shot by Hurricanes forward Nino Niederreiter. Less than 30 seconds after that scoring chance, the Lightning went on the power play for the first time in the game. And with Niederreiter in the box for interference, Stamkos scored his 38th goal of the season. The goal was also the captain's 19th on the power play, which tied him temporarily with teammate Brayden Point for most power play goals in the NHL this season.
With that early one goal lead, the Lightning were able to kill a tripping penalty on center Cedric Paquette. But less than three minutes after Paquette's penalty expired, following a Paquette turnover, the Hurricanes were able to get some traffic in front of Domingue & after a deflection the puck ended up behind the Lightning goalie with Niederreiter being credited with the goal.
Under two minutes later, Carolina took their first lead of the game when defenseman Dougie Hamilton picked up a loose puck near the face-off circle & snapped a shot past Domingue. And trailing now by a goal, the Lightning were forced to kill off a major penalty after center Yanni Gourde was called for an elbow to the head of center Jordan Staal.
Tampa Bay was able to keep the puck out of their own net during the major penalty. And with a strong rush up the ice by Point & forward Nikita Kucherov & followed by a nifty pass by defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who joined the rush, the Lightning tied the game at two when center Tyler Johnson buried a shot past Hurricanes goalie Curtis McElhinney after McDonagh's pass found him in front of the net.
The goal by Johnson, his 27th of the season, came with 26 seconds left in the first period. And at the start of the second period, Tampa Bay had a chance on the power play after a tripping penalty on center Lucas Wallmark. But Carolina was able to kill that penalty. And four minutes later with both teams with a player in the penalty box, the Hurricanes took their second one goal lead of the game when Staal sped past defenseman Mikhail Sergachev & slipped a puck past Domingue during the four on four.
Trailing by a goal to start the third period, the Lightning, like the Hurricanes did in the second period, took advantage of the extra space on the ice after both teams had a player in the penalty box. And after controlling the puck into the Hurricanes zone, Stamkos found center Anthony Cirelli in front of the net, who was able to fight off a Hurricanes defenseman & push the puck past McElhinney to tie the score at three.
The score remained tied at three until less than 10 minutes were left in the game. That's when Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who had three assists, shot the puck from the point & Ryan Callahan, who was celebrating his 34th birthday, skated through the front of the crease & redirected Hedman's shot into the net past McElhinney. The goal for Callahan, a healthy scratch in the previous five games, was his seventh of the season. And in the video below, you can see the Lightning forward call for the pass from Hedman.
Leading by one goal, the Lightning went on the power play & with less than four minutes left in the game, Point added to his league-leading power play goal count when he took a pass from Stamkos & snapped a wrist shot for his 20th power play goal & 39th goal overall.
McDonagh added an empty net goal with just over a minute left in the game to go along with his assist on Johnson's goal.
Tampa Bay, who improved to 7-3 on the second half of back to backs, will play their third road game in four nights when they travel to Saint Louis on Saturday to take on the Blues. Coverage on News Radio WFLA begins with the pre-game at 7:30pm with puck drop scheduled for 8pm.
1 TBL- PPG- Stamkos 38th Goal (Hedman, Point)- 3:20
2. CAR- Niederreiter 21st Goal (Aho)- 9:51
3. CAR- Hamilton 14th Goal (Svechnikov, Staal)- 11:32
4. TBL- Johnson 27th Goal (McDonagh, Kucherov)- 19:34
1. CAR- Staal 8th Goal (Teravainen, Pesce)- 6:34
1. TBL- Cirelli 17th Goal (Stamkos, Hedman)- 3:35
2. TBL- Callahan 7th Goal (Hedman, Mille)- 10:09
3. TBL- PPG- Point 39th Goal (Stamkos, Miller)- 16:36
4. TBL- EN- McDonagh 9th Goal (Unassisted)- 18:55
1. CAR- Niederreiter (Interference 2 Min)- 2:43
2. TBL- Paquette (Tripping 2 Min)- 5:42
3. TBL- Gourde (Match Penalty 10 Min)- 14:09
4. CAR- van Roemsdyk (Rouging 2 Min)- 14:09
1. CAR- Wallmark ( Tripping 2 Min)- 1:54
2. TBL- Rutta (Holding 2 Min)- 5:11
3. CAR- Hamilton (Elbowing 2 Min)- 6:12
1. TBL- Cernak (Tripping 2 Min)- 2:55
2. CAR- Foegele (Embellisment 2 Min)- 2:55
3. CAR- Svechnikov (High-Sticking 2 Min)- 10:24
4. CAR- Ferland (Tripping 2 Min)- 15:21