TAMPA BAY - Buoyed by two power-play goals, the Carolina Hurricanes topped the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in the front half of a home-and-home, back-to-back preseason set.
Justin Williams and Teuvo Teravainen netted goals on the man advantage, as the Canes improve to 2-0 in their seven-game exhibition season.
Here are five takeaways from tonight's contest.
Justin Williams made his much-anticipated return to the ice in a Hurricanes sweater tonight, and he didn't disappoint, immediately making an impact on the scoreboard. On a 4-on-3 power play in the first five minutes of the game, Williams stepped up, fired and scored on a twisted wrister that tucked itself into the top right corner of the net. That goal gave the Hurricanes the early 1-0 lead, which they were able to build upon in the second period.
"That was just a really good shot by Willy," Victor Rask said. "He's scored a lot of goals, so it's going to be fun to play with him."
"He's been in and around that 20-goal range forever," head coach Bill Peters said. "He's a guy who knows how to play and knows how to score."
Williams' goal-scoring abilities are but one advantage of having him on the roster. He's also an asset in the room and on the bench.
"He knows how to play. A real, real smart player," Peters said. "Real good on the bench talking to kids, letting them know what has to happen."
"He's an easy-going guy. The first time I met him we just hit it off right away," Rask said. "He's a really good teammate, and it's going to be good for the young guys in here."
Teravainen-Rask-Williams is a line we might see again in the regular season. It worked on the power play tonight, with both Teravainen - finishing off a cross-ice feed from Rask - and Williams striking a man up, but it was kind of tough to get a good read on them otherwise due to the specialty teams-heavy play.
"Those guys were impactful," Peters said. "I want to get an evaluation on Rask, Teravainen and Williams as a line, so I would have liked to have seen guys play some more 5-on-5, but that's just not the way it was tonight."
Tonight's defensive corps was an intriguing bunch. There wasn't a whole lot of NHL experience to go around - Klas Dahlbeck and Trevor Carrick are the two who have seen time in The Show - but all six are vying to stick around with the Hurricanes as the team's sixth or seventh defenseman.
"When you spend a few years in the AHL and each year you have higher and higher expectations going into camp, you want to be in the NHL," said Carrick, who played in two regular-season games in the 2015-16 season. "I think that motivates you, just being around all the guys and the quality of hockey. You want to be playing to your highest potential."
And for the young defense, it was job well done tonight. They limited the Bolts to 26 shots and just one power-play goal in 10 - yes, ten - tries.
"Pretty good for the first time playing with each other. There was some pretty good chemistry out there," Carrick said. "It wasn't a perfect game; you're going to make mistakes and everyone knows that. I think we managed the mistakes pretty good, and it was a pretty solid overall effort."
Carrick recorded two assists tonight, including the primary helper on Williams' game-opening goal.
"When you're on the ice with four lethal guys, all you have to do is give them the puck, and they're going to make it happen," he said.
As was the case on Monday night in Buffalo, the Hurricanes again utilized two goaltenders tonight. Alex Nedeljkovic played the first two periods and made 14 saves on 15 shots. Callum Booth manned the crease in the final period and turned away all 11 shots he faced.
"I thought both of them played really good," Rask said. "It's fun to see the young guys come in and play good."
"These guys are all pushing for spots and trying to make a good impression. They don't have a long time to make an impression. We still haven't Wardo or Darls, and we've got to get those guys in shape and timing down prior to the start of the regular season. When you get your opportunity, you have to take advantage of it," Peters said. "Ned had a real good 40-minute stint today. Callum came off the bench and played real well. … He was outstanding and clean tonight."
Unfortunately, preseason game No. 2 was no different from preseason game No. 1 when it came to penalties. There were plenty doled out tonight - 36 penalty minutes, in total.
"We've got to get our head wrapped around how they're going to call this and go from there. You've got to adapt, and we will," Peters said. "Everyone is playing their first game, so there's an adjustment period."
The Lightning finished the game just 1-for-10 on the man advantage, another credit to the Canes' stellar penalty killing, while both of the Canes' tallies came on the power play.
"They were outstanding, all those guys on the PK," Peters said. "I thought they were real fearless in shooting lanes, bumping pucks, making little pocket-plays. I thought they did a great job. … I thought the young D all played well. We'll see. We've got a lot of D in camp still."
The Hurricanes and Lightning will square off again on Wednesday night in Raleigh to close out this home-and-home, back-to-back set.