Hurricanes, Lightning take their series to Tampa

NHL Hockey

As usual, two points were at stake when Tampa Bay and Carolina met for third time on Monday night, but the Lightning had a little something else on the line as well: pride.

The Lightning snapped a two-game losing streak, which included Hurricanes backup goalie Alex Nedeljkovic’s first career shutout on Saturday, and won for just the second time in five games with a 4-2 victory on Monday in Raleigh, N.C.

The scene shifts for the two Central Division clubs, who play four times in six days, as the series travels to Tampa for Wednesday’s match in the first of a back-to-back set.

Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman said he and his teammates looked inside themselves after the brief winless stretch against Carolina.

“Obviously it was a good feeling,” said Hedman, who joined Ondrej Palat and Steven Stamkos with a goal and an assist Monday. “It hasn’t gone our way in this building for a while, but we stuck with it.

“We talked about it yesterday and today — what we can do to have more success against this team. I thought we played fast, but we didn’t think too much. We played north and got pucks to the net.

“You know, we’re a proud team and we don’t like losing three of the last four.”

Palat scored the game-winning goal at 8:04 of the third period.

Stamkos’ ninth goal on a one-timer in the second period was the visitors’ first against Carolina in a span of 178 minutes, 19 seconds — dating back to the Lightning’s 3-1 win on Jan. 5, 2020.

Jesper Fast tallied twice — his first goals with Carolina — but the Hurricanes had their two-game winning streak come to an end and lost in regulation for the first time in seven outings (5-1-1).

“They came out way much harder than we did, and we were on our heels,” said Fast, a free-agent acquisition last October. “We weren’t ready in the first period. That kind of hurt us. You have to play a complete game against a team like this, and we didn’t do that tonight.”

James Reimer made 28 saves but saw his record dip to 8-2-0, and red-hot Vincent Trocheck had his three-game goal streak and seven-game points stretch snapped.

Rookie defenseman Jake Bean handed out an assist, giving him five in the past five games, but Carolina had its six-game points streak stopped in the loss.

The Hurricanes were supposed to play Chicago on Saturday, but the NHL flipped the schedule around and sent Tampa Bay to Raleigh in place of the Blackhawks.

“We weren’t ready to go from the start — we were scrambling,” Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour said. “You’ve got to give their team credit. They’re the Stanley Cup champs.”

Brind’Amour said Tuesday that first-line winger Teuvo Teravainen (two goals, seven assists in 12 games), who missed his second consecutive game, has a concussion.

–Field Level Media

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