TAMPA - The Carolina Hurricanes had their season-best, five-game winning streak snapped in Tampa in a 3-1 loss to the NHL's top team.
The Canes led the Lightning until the third period, when the league's most lethal power play connected for two goals on the man advantage.
Here are five takeaways from the Canes' road trip finale.
The Canes don't have too much to hang their heads about after this one. They went toe-to-toe with a team that just put together a 15-0-1 stretch. For much of the game, the Canes controlled play, slowed Tampa Bay down in the neutral zone and limited their 5-on-5 chances. The loss wasn't for a lack of effort, that's for sure.
"That's a tough one to swallow," Justin Williams said. "You live and you learn through experience. We've won some close games, but this one stings a little bit."
"We played a really good game on the road. We battled hard," Petr Mrazek said. "Too bad we didn't get any points on it."
"The effort was phenomenal. We were working hard," head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We always work hard. We're a hard-working team."
On Oct. 30, the Canes allowed two power-play goals, and their penalty kill ranked last in the NHL at just 66.7 percent.
Coming into tonight's game, the Canes had killed penalties at an 87.5 percent clip (77-for-88) since Nov. 1, which ranked second in the league.
Tonight, they faced a stiff test against the league's top power play that converts nearly one in every three opportunities on the man advantage. Twice, Sebastian Aho drew penalties early on the kill to negate Tampa Bay's power play, but the Canes tempted fate one too many times.
Andrei Svechnikov took his second stick penalty of the game, a hook on Steven Stamkos, and the Lightning converted on the ensuing power play to tie the game at one, as Ondrej Palat tapped in a slow roller with 8:04 left in regulation.
"You adapt to what the refs call, and you can figure it out. They were calling some stick penalties tonight, and they called them, which is fine," Williams said. "We obviously have to stay out of the box. That's the best power play in the league."
"Their power play is good. We all know that," Mrazek said. "In the first two periods, when we were shorthanded, we played really good. We kept them to the outside. Too bad in the third period we couldn't finish it."
With 3:55 left in regulation, Greg McKegg was whistled for a slashing minor, a retaliation after being elbowed by Alex Killorn, who then sold the slash after taking a stride. On the ensuing power play, Brayden Point one-timed the go-ahead goal from the slot.
"We knew coming in we couldn't take penalties, and we did. That's the killer. It's a tough call at the end. That's a good game going on, and the guy embellishes a little tap on the back of the legs. I kind of knew that was coming," Brind'Amour said. "It's too bad. It was a good game. Both teams played pretty hard, I thought, but they got the better of us. Their talent took over on the power plays, and that was the difference."
Mrazek took the tough loss in this one, but his 27-save performance earned him third star of the game honors. He made a number of crucial saves to keep the Canes in the game, including a point-blank stop on Tyler Johnson, who was open in the slot in the third period in a 1-0 game.
Video: CAR@TBL: Mrazek moves across to deny Kucherov
"Guys in front of me were great all game long," Mrazek said. "We battled hard and put pucks behind them to play in the offensive zone. It's nice to see we play against anyone."
"He made some real big saves. They had some good looks. We had some breakdowns," Brind'Amour said. "That's what both guys have been doing for us. Unfortunately, we didn't get enough offense to support him tonight."
The Canes got on the board first in the second period. Dougie Hamilton put a shot on goal, and Williams crashed the net to clean up the juicy rebound left by Andrei Vasilevskiy. It was the 300th career goal for the Canes' captain, who is riding a five-game point streak (4g, 1a). Hamilton also has points in five straight games (3g, 3a).
Video: CAR@TBL: Williams scores 300th career goal
For the second game in a row, the Hurricanes utilized the coach's challenge and had an opponent's goal overturned due to an offside zone entry.
In 4-on-4 action, Point broke in alone. His initial shot was saved by Mrazek, but Point whacked the rebound in out of midair.
It seemed like a pretty cut-and-dry sequence at first, but not so fast. Tyler Johnson was at the bench door - which is inside the offensive zone - mid-line change, and his skate was still on the ice before Point entered the zone. That's offside. Credit Canes General Manager and President Don Waddell and goaltending coach Mike Bales for the sharp eyes in the sky and video coaches Chris Huffine and LJ Scarpace for their quick work in the video room behind the scenes.
"It was good that those guys picked it up. We don't really see much on the bench," Brind'Amour said. "There's good communication here."
The Canes return home to host Jeff Skinner and the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night.
"When you play a team like Tampa, we're in a good position and then to lose it that way, that's a tough way to lose it," Brind'Amour said. "It's going to be tough, but we're going to have to pick the guys up tomorrow and be ready to go."
"It's important to hop back on it, keep playing well and not let this be a turning point in the season for us," Williams said. "Let it be something we learn from. Get back and play the way we can tomorrow."