The Tampa Bay Lightning got the secondary scoring it needed, just not the desired result it hoped would come with it.
Nate Thompson and Teddy Purcell each had goals for Tampa Bay, which couldn’t recover from a slow start that led to a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The Lightning, which concluded a two-game home stand, looks to snap a five-game losing streak as it finishes off a back-to-back set against Washington on Friday.
“I would say this is the hardest one to take this year,” Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. “We can’t have that.”
Jiri Tlusty had two goals for the Hurricanes, and Tuomo Ruutu, Jay Harrison and Tim Brent also scored for Carolina, which got 34 saves from goaltender Cam Ward. Eric Staal added three assists.
The Hurricanes saw their two-game losing streak come to a halt, while
Tampa Bay dropped to 11-6-1 at home this season.
Tlusty scored twice in a four-goal first period for Carolina, helping the Hurricanes take a 4-1 lead into the intermission.
He made it 2-0 when he fired a wrist shot to the far post with 15:19 still left to go in the first after Ruutu opened the game’s scoring by roofing a shot over Mathieu Garon at 3:27.
“We owed them from last time,” Tlusty said. “We didn’t show our game the last time we were here, so we had it in our minds. We put the puck in behind their D, and worked their D, so that gave us the opportunity to score and we capitalized.”
Garon stopped just five of eight shots in just over 15 minutes of action before being relieved in goal by Dwayne Roloson.
“I don’t like it,” Boucher said of pulling his goalie. “I really don’t, but I had to do something to turn it around. I thought Roli was handling a lot and making the right saves for us and looking confident in there.”
Thompson got Tampa Bay on the board and cut the deficit in half on a breakaway at 14:36. He stole a Carolina pass near center ice and raced in all alone before making a nifty move and backhanding one past Ward for his fourth of the year.
Harrison’s shot from the left circle pulled Carolina back ahead by two just 34 seconds later, ending Garon’s night.
Roloson didn’t fare much better, as Tlusty’s second of the night capped the first-period scoring at 16:18 of the first. A video review confirmed that Staal's pass, which deflected off Tlusty, entered the net before it became dislodged.
“The puck just hit me and I saw it go in the net,” Tlusty added. “And after that, the post got hit, so I thought it was supposed to be a goal.”
Purcell brought the Lightning to within two when he took a pass from Bruno Gervais behind the net and tapped-one home past Ward to open the second period’s scoring.
The goal snapped a four-game scoring drought for the Lightning forward, who prior to Thursday, last lit the lamp in the team’s most recent meeting with Carolina on New Year’s Eve in Tampa Bay.
Steven Stamkos recorded an assist on the night, hours after being named to the 2012 NHL All-Star Team. Stamkos has at least a point in each of his team’s home games dating back to Nov. 19.
Carolina extended the advantage to 5-2 on Brent’s goal at 13:41 of the third.
“I don’t know what it is,” Stamkos said of the loss. “We know what we have to do. We played a good game against one of the best teams in Vancouver and we have a tough time against a team that’s almost in the same situation as us.”
tampabaylightning.com is the official Web site of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay Lightning and tampabaylightning.com are trademarks of Lightning Hockey L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2013 Lightning Hockey, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.