for this game

LaRose's hat trick powers Hurricanes past Lightning

Apr 3, 2008 - 4:24 AM
RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Chad LaRose recorded his first career hat trick as the Carolina Hurricanes regained sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division with a 6-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday.

All-Star Eric Staal, Tuomo Ruutu and Scott Walker also tallied and Erik Cole and defenseman Dennis Seidenberg had two assists apiece for Carolina (43-32-6), which moved past idle Washington (41-31-8) atop the division.

The Hurricanes will wrap up the regular season with a home game against Florida (37-34-9) on Friday, while the Capitals host both Tampa Bay (31-40-9) on Thursday and the Panthers on Saturday.

"This was the first step for the playoff spot right now," Ruutu said. "We have one game left. If we win Friday, we're going to be in. That's all that matters."

Although LaRose is not known for his goal-scoring touch, the 26-year-old offered a light-hearted assessment of his play.

"I was very excited to be back, and I did say I was back with a vengeance," said LaRose, who was activated from injured reserve on Friday after missing nearly two months with a broken leg.

"But the boys played great, and this one's pretty much over. We need to look forward to Friday. We'll be watching (Washington), but we can only control so much, and that's our game Friday, and that's what we're looking forward to."

Martin St. Louis and Jeff Halpern tallied for the lowly Lightning, who are 2-5-1 in their last eight games and remained just two points ahead of Los Angeles (31-42-7) for the worst record in the league.

"It's been a tough year," St. Louis said. "We've had some personnel changes. We're trying to work together and get better as a team, but obviously, we know where we're at. We're trying to work for the future and trying to work hard to come together as a team."

Staal opened the scoring just 32 seconds into the game, skating down the right wing and wristing a shot from just inside the right faceoff circle past goaltender Mike Smith for his team-leading 37th goal of the season.

"Anytime you can get one early, it really livens the bench, gets the crowd going," Staal said. "It's just a real boost, and we wanted to attack them early in the game, get on them, shoot some pucks. I was working to create some space on the wing and just threw it on the net. It went by him and we just kept going on from there."

After St. Louis leveled the contest with a power-play tally eight minutes later, LaRose regained the lead for Carolina with 3:50 remaining in the session after gathering a rebound on the doorstep.

LaRose added his second of the night just 4:31 into the second period, tapping in the rebound of defenseman Joe Corvo's shot from the blue line for his first two-goal game since March 17, 2007.

"Sitting out for so long was so tough, and I promised myself when I would get back that I'd be great every shift," LaRose said. "I'm trying to work at it and coach is putting me in great situations."

Walker and Ruutu added power-play goals to give Carolina a 5-1 advantage it held until late in the third period.

After Halpern scored his 20th of the season at 15:46 to cut the deficit to three, LaRose capped the hat trick on a breakaway with 99 seconds remaining.

"I'm really happy for (LaRose)," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "For a guy who works as hard as he possibly can every game ... for him to get rewarded with three goals in a big game like this, I'm real happy for him."

Making his 19th straight start, Cam Ward finished with 23 saves.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 1 2
    CAROLINA 2 2 2 6 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 37 (ERIK COLE, BRET HEDICAN) 0:32
    TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 25 (JUSSI JOKINEN, VINCENT
    LECAVALIER) 8:24
    CAR - CHAD LAROSE 9 (ERIC STAAL, TREVOR LETOWSKI) 16:10
    2ND PRD: CAR - CHAD LAROSE 10 (TUOMO

    Apr 2 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    CAROLINA 6
    3RD PRD: CAR - CHAD LAROSE 11 (ERIK COLE) 18:21

    Lightning 2, Hurricanes 6  3rd - 1:39Apr 2 9:30 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    CAROLINA 5
    3RD PRD: TAM - (PP) JEFF HALPERN 20 (MARTIN ST. LOUIS, VINCENT
    LECAVALIER) 15:46

    Lightning 2, Hurricanes 5  3rd - 4:14Apr 2 9:26 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    CAROLINA 5
    3RD PRD: CAR - (PP) TUOMO RUUTU 10 (SERGEI SAMSONOV, DENNIS
    SEIDENBERG) 2:09

    Lightning 1, Hurricanes 5  3rd - 17:51Apr 2 8:59 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 1
    CAROLINA 2 2 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 37 (ERIK COLE, BRET HEDICAN) 0:32
    TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 25 (JUSSI JOKINEN, VINCENT
    LECAVALIER) 8:24
    CAR - CHAD LAROSE 9 (ERIC STAAL, TREVOR LETOWSKI) 16:10
    2ND PRD: CAR - CHAD LARO

    Apr 2 8:38 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    CAROLINA 4
    2ND PRD: CAR - (PP) SCOTT WALKER 14 (DENNIS SEIDENBERG, FRANTISEK
    KABERLE) 8:08

    Lightning 1, Hurricanes 4  2nd - 11:52Apr 2 8:18 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    CAROLINA 3
    2ND PRD: CAR - CHAD LAROSE 10 (TUOMO RUUTU, JOE CORVO) 4:31

    Lightning 1, Hurricanes 3  2nd - 15:29Apr 2 8:09 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 1
    CAROLINA 2 2 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 37 (ERIK COLE, BRET HEDICAN) 0:32
    TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 25 (JUSSI JOKINEN, VINCENT
    LECAVALIER) 8:24
    CAR - CHAD LAROSE 9 (ERIC STAAL, TREVOR LETOWSKI) 16:10
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1S

    Apr 2 7:45 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    CAROLINA 2
    1ST PRD: CAR - CHAD LAROSE 9 (ERIC STAAL, TREVOR LETOWSKI) 16:10

    Lightning 1, Hurricanes 2  1st - 3:50Apr 2 7:37 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: TAM - (PP) MARTIN ST. LOUIS 25 (JUSSI JOKINEN, VINCENT
    LECAVALIER) 8:24

    Lightning 1, Hurricanes 1  1st - 11:36Apr 2 7:25 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 0
    CAROLINA 1
    1ST PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 37 (BRET HEDICAN) 0:32

    Lightning 0, Hurricanes 1  1st - 19:28Apr 2 7:13 PM