for this game

Lecavalier scores 50th goal as Lightning top Hurricanes

Mar 31, 2007 - 4:51 AM
RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Vincent Lecavalier came through again for the Tampa Bay Lightning in a huge battle of Southeast Division rivals.

Defenseman Filip Kuba snapped a tie midway through the third period and Lecavalier added insurance with his 50th goal of the season as the Lightning posted a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

Lecavalier added two assists and Vaclav Prospal scored a goal and set up another for Tampa Bay (42-32-4), which climbed within three points of idle Atlanta (40-27-11) for first place in the Southeast and one ahead of the New York Rangers (39-29-9) for sixth in the Eastern Conference.

With the loss, the Hurricanes (38-32-8) remained seven points behind the Thrashers and two back of the Montreal Canadiens (40-32-6) for the eighth and final playoff berth in the conference with only four games left.

Carolina is trying to avoid becoming the first Stanley Cup champion since the 1995 New Jersey Devils to fail to qualify for the playoffs the following season.

"We've got to be (optimistic)," Hurricanes coach Peter Laviolette said. "We've got to win a hockey game on Sunday. That's the bottom line. Start with one, then we move on."

"Obviously, this one's going to be pretty tough to swallow," Carolina's Erik Cole said. "We have to wake up tomorrow, it's a new day, and we'll start preparing for Sunday."

The Hurricanes, who have two home games and two road contests remaining, visit the Florida Panthers on Sunday before traveling to Tampa Bay for a rematch with the Lightning on Tuesday.

After Prospal forged a 2-2 tie late in the second period by redirecting Lecavalier's pass from the corner of the crease past Cam Ward, Kuba intercepted Craig Adams' clearing pass and fired a low shot from the left point by the screened goaltender at 10:35 of the third to give the Lightning their first lead.

"Their players tried to clear the puck from the zone," Kuba said. "I caught the puck at the blue line. I turned around and shot at the net."

"I saw Craig going to get it," Carolina defenseman Mike Commodore said. "I saw him turn up. He saw me and we were trying to make a play. He just didn't get it out."

Lecavalier doubled the lead less than five minutes later, when his backhander from the slot deflected off defenseman David Tanabe's stick and between Ward's pads for a 4-2 advantage.

"It seems like it's always like that," Lecavalier said of the good fortune. "You shoot hard, you get some great chances and then nothing goes in. Then some flukey goal goes in. I'm happy that it got us the lead at 4-2. It was big for us."

The center, who leads in the NHL with 60 road points, was glad to get the milestone goal out of the way.

"It was obviously in the back of my mind," he said. "Like I've said before, every time you get even to 29 with 40 games left, to get that 30th goal is tough. Then at 39, too, and 49. So, it seems like every time you reach a nine, it's in your head, for some reason. It shouldn't be, but it is."

Martin St. Louis also tallied and goaltender Johan Holmqvist made 26 saves for Tampa Bay, which won for the first time in three games.

St. Louis recorded his 42nd goal and 99th point when he one-timed a blast from the left faceoff dot past Ward to tie the game at 1-1 with 2:26 to go in the first period.

Cole and Commodore scored for the Hurricanes, who have been outscored, 15-4, during their three-game losing streak.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 1 2 4
    CAROLINA 1 1 0 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIK COLE 28 (CORY STILLMAN) 6:25
    TAM - MARTIN ST. LOUIS 42 (VACLAV PROSPAL, VINCENT
    LECAVALIER) 17:34
    2ND PRD: CAR - MIKE COMMODORE 7 (TREVOR LETOWSKI, NICLAS WALLIN) 3:53
    TAM - VACLAV PROSPAL 13 (VINCENT LECA

    Mar 30 10:08 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 4
    CAROLINA 2
    3RD PRD: TAM - VINCENT LECAVALIER 50 (NOLAN PRATT) 15:27

    Lightning vs. HurricanesMar 30 10:02 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 3
    CAROLINA 2
    3RD PRD: TAM - FILIP KUBA 14 (UNASSISTED) 10:35

    Lightning vs. HurricanesMar 30 9:50 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 1 2
    CAROLINA 1 1 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIK COLE 28 (CORY STILLMAN) 6:25
    TAM - MARTIN ST. LOUIS 42 (VACLAV PROSPAL, VINCENT
    LECAVALIER) 17:34
    2ND PRD: CAR - MIKE COMMODORE 7 (TREVOR LETOWSKI, NICLAS WALLIN) 3:53
    TAM - VACLAV PROSPAL 13

    Mar 30 9:13 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    CAROLINA 2
    2ND PRD: TAM - VACLAV PROSPAL 13 (VINCENT LECAVALIER, SHANE O'BRIEN)
    15:59

    Lightning vs. HurricanesMar 30 9:06 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    CAROLINA 2
    2ND PRD: CAR - MIKE COMMODORE 7 (TREVOR LETOWSKI, NICLAS WALLIN) 3:53

    Lightning vs. HurricanesMar 30 8:44 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 1
    CAROLINA 1 1 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIK COLE 28 (CORY STILLMAN) 6:25
    TAM - MARTIN ST. LOUIS 42 (VACLAV PROSPAL, VINCENT
    LECAVALIER) 17:34
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAM 12 12
    CAR

    Mar 30 8:20 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: TAM - MARTIN ST. LOUIS 42 (VACLAV PROSPAL, VINCENT
    LECAVALIER) 17:34

    Lightning vs. HurricanesMar 30 8:15 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 0
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIK COLE 28 (CORY STILLMAN) 6:25

    Lightning vs. HurricanesMar 30 7:48 PM