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game recap

'Canes edge Lightning 4-3 to stay in playoff hunt

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:50 AM

NHL.com

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'Canes edge Lightning 4-3 to stay in playoff hunt
Carolina Hurricanes 4, Tampa Bay Lightning 3
The Carolina Hurricanes are staying right on the heels of the Buffalo Sabres in the race for an Eastern Conference playoff berth.

The 'Canes stayed three points behind Buffalo on Friday night as Eric Cole scored a pair of goals in a 4-3 victory at Tampa Bay in the front end of a home-and-home series.

Cole put the Hurricanes up 2-1 with a power-play goal at 8:23 of the second period and added an unassisted goal on a backhander 6:50 into the third to help Carolina win its third straight game.

Captain Eric Staal scored for the first time in eight games to give Carolina a 4-1 lead, connecting on a power play with 7:40 left in the third. Tampa Bay cut the deficit to one goal y scoring twice in a 52-second span on a goal by Vincent Lecavalier and Simon Gagne's second power-play score, but the rally came up short -- much to the relief of Carolina coach Paul Maurice.

"Regardless our situation in the standings, that would've been a tough loss, given how our hockey club played for, oh, I don't know, 56 minutes," Maurice said. "I was real pleased with the effort we got out of everyone."

Gagne opened the scoring at 7:12 of the first period on Tampa Bay's second power-play opportunity.

Jeff Skinner tied it at 12:52. The rookie center has scored at least one point in each of the first four games in the season series, which resumes Saturday night in Raleigh.

The second period belonged to Carolina, as Cole scored the go-ahead goal and the 'Canes limited the Lightning to only three shots on Cam Ward.

"When you don't shoot, you don't create momentum, and you don't create chaos in the offensive zone," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "We can't sustain any pressure, and that's what they did. They shot from everywhere."

Ward stopped 18 shots, while Dwayne Roloson had to make 35 saves for Tampa Bay.

"We still feel like we did good things at the end, but they get paid, too," Cole said. "They're an explosive offensive team ... but Cam held down the fort for us, and we were able to buckle down and get two big points."

Tampa Bay, which led the Southeast Division for much of the season, has lost four consecutive games and is 2-6-4 this month. The Lightning have lost their knack for winning close games, having dropped eight of the last nine decided by one goal after going 10-0-2 in such contests.

Material from wire services was used in this report

scoring summary
1st Period
07:11
TBL
PPG - Simon Gagne (13) ASST: Martin St. Louis (60), Vincent Lecavalier (24)
1 - 0 TBL
12:52
CAR
Jeff Skinner (26) ASST: Tuomo Ruutu (32), Joni Pitkanen (29)
1 - 1 Tie
2nd Period
08:23
CAR
PPG - Erik Cole (21) ASST: Cory Stillman (22), Eric Staal (37)
2 - 1 CAR
3rd Period
06:50
CAR
Erik Cole (22) ASST: NONE
3 - 1 CAR
12:20
CAR
PPG - Eric Staal (30) ASST: Joe Corvo (25), Joni Pitkanen (30)
4 - 1 CAR
13:17
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier (20) ASST: Victor Hedman (22)
4 - 2 CAR
14:09
TBL
PPG - Simon Gagne (14) ASST: Martin St. Louis (61), Brett Clark (21)
4 - 3 CAR
penalty summary
1st Period
00:13
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier  Roughing against  Jay Harrison
01:49
CAR
Jeff Skinner  Holding against  Eric Brewer
05:53
CAR
Jay Harrison  Roughing against  Simon Gagne
09:37
CAR
Jay Harrison  Cross checking against  Steve Downie
09:37
TBL
Steve Downie  Slashing against  Jay Harrison
2nd Period
01:56
TBL
Dwayne Roloson  Tripping against  Cory Stillman
07:52
TBL
Steven Stamkos  Hooking against  Tim Gleason
09:32
TBL
Victor Hedman  Tripping against  Tuomo Ruutu
12:52
CAR
Jay Harrison  Tripping against  Vincent Lecavalier
19:17
TBL
Sean Bergenheim  Hooking against  Tuomo Ruutu
3rd Period
10:56
TBL
Steven Stamkos  Tripping against  Jeff Skinner
10:56
TBL
Steve Downie  Misconduct (10 min)
14:00
CAR
Derek Joslin  Interference on goalkeeper against  Dwayne Roloson
17:20
CAR
Bryan Allen  Boarding against  Simon Gagne
goalie stats
Cam Ward
Cam Ward
32-24-9
SA: 21TOI: 60:00
Saves: 18EV: 12 - 13
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 7
SV%: .857SH: 1 - 1
Dwayne Roloson
SA: 39TOI: 59:21
Saves: 35EV: 26 - 28
PIM: 2PP: 6 - 8
SV%: .897SH: 3 - 3