NHL Game Summary - Tampa Bay at Carolina
(Monday, January 18th)
Final Score: Tampa Bay 3, Carolina 2
Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Steve Downie scored the winning goal midway through the third period as Tampa Bay topped Carolina, 3-2, at RBC Center.
Ryan Malone and Vincent Lecavalier also scored for the Lightning, which had lost their previous two games, both against Florida. Antero Niittymaki made 20 saves for Tampa Bay, which beat the Hurricanes for just the second time in the last 11 meetings. The Lightning also snapped an eight-game skid on the road against Carolina, winning at RBC Center for the first time since November 8, 2007.
"When you play one goal games, a heavy or fluke goal can win the game so it was a resilient game for us," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said.
Matt Cullen and Chad LaRose had the goals for the Hurricanes, who have lost three in a row. LaRose had missed the last 17 games due to a lower body injury.
Cam Ward made 29 saves in defeat.
"We worked on the rush and taking the rush and taking the speed off the rush," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "We worked on it at practice too, to focus on what we were trying to do. We gave up to much on the ice, a lack of confidence and lack of physicality, and it burned us."
LaRose took a long pass from Tim Gleason, got behind defenders and scored on a backhand 4:07 into the third to tie the game, but Downie netted the game- winner at the 9:11 mark.
Martin St. Louis skated into the Tampa Bay zone and backhanded a pass from the right circle to in front for Downie's 11th goal of the season. It was St. Louis' 41st assist.
Niittymaki faced just six shots in the final period and the Hurricanes never got a decent chance to tie the game despite pulling Ward for an extra attacker in the final minute.
Malone scored 11:07 into the game off a scramble in front, and that was the lone goal of the opening period.
The Hurricanes tied it with 3:32 left in the second on Cullen's ninth goal of the season on a shot from the right side of the net, but Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 with 65 seconds remaining in the period. On the power play, Lecavalier scored on a rebound in front when he used his stick to tap the puck to himself before putting a backhand by Ward.
Ward remains one win shy of tying the franchise record for victories by a goaltender (Arturs Irbe, 130)...LaRose was activated off injured reserve prior to the game. To make room on the roster, the Hurricanes assigned forward Drayson Bowman to Albany of the American Hockey League.
01/18 22:25:26 ET