Curtis McElhinney made 40 saves in a losing effort as the Lightning fell to the Hurricanes 4-3 in overtime on Sunday evening in Raleigh.
After Brett Pesce scored on a deflection off the skates of a Tampa Bay defender, the Lightning responded with three-straight first period goals to take a 3-1 lead.
Tyler Johnson equalized for the Bolts just over a minute after Pesce's goal. Kevin Shattenkirk followed that up with his second goal of the season on a power play midway through the period. Finally, Steven Stamkos gave Tampa Bay a two-goal advantage late in the period.
Video: TBL@CAR: Stamkos comes off the bench and scores
That would be pretty much all Tampa Bay would be able to generate offensively.
After Stamkos' goal with 2:16 remaining in the first period, Carolina held the Lightning to only two shots on goal in the remainder of the game.
With the Bolts hemmed in their defensive zone, Carolina got to work cutting into Tampa Bay's lead.
Erik Haula pulled the hosts within a goal with a power play tally in the second period after McElhinney couldn't control the rebound on a shot from Dougie Hamilton at the point. The Hurricanes then tied the game midway through the third period on a power play goal from Hamilton.
The Lightning spent most of the beginning stages of overtime killing off the remainder of an interference call on Shattenkirk. Just after getting back to full strength, Jordan Staal fed Jaccob Slavin on a 2-on-1 rush who wired a shot past McElhinney to secure the second point for Carolina.
Despite the loss, McElhinney was Tampa Bay's best player on the ice. With several defensive breakdowns in front of him, the Lightning leaned heavily on McElhinney to even salvage a point from Carolina.
Video: TBL@CAR: McElhinney uses glove to rob McGinn
Sunday's loss closes out a hectic start to the season for the Bolts. Sunday's 5 p.m. puck drop was the Lightning's third game in four nights and came on the heels of a game in Sunrise vs. the Panthers the night prior.
The Bolts will now have three days off before resuming their road trip with an Atlantic Division matchup vs. the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Thursday night.
CAR | 1:14 Brett Pesce (1) - Brock McGinn
TBL | 2:22 Tyler Johnson (1) - Victor Hedman
TBL | 9:53 Kevin Shattenkirk (2) - Mikhail Sergachev, Yanni Gourde - PPG
TBL | 17:44 Steven Stamkos (2) - Unassisted
CAR | 13:49 Erik Haula (3) - Dougie Hamilton, Teuvo Teravainen - PPG
CAR | 12:48 Dougie Hamilton (1) - Teuvo Teravainen, Andrei Svechnikov - PPG
CAR | 1:53 Jaccob Slavin (2) - Jordan Staal