for this game

Staal's late goal lifts Hurricanes over Lightning

Jan 30, 2009 - 4:16 AM
RALEIGH, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Lately, nothing has come easily for the Carolina Hurricanes and All-Star Eric Staal.

Such was the case Thursday, when Staal snapped a tie with 96 seconds remaining in the third period as the Hurricanes edged the Tampa Bay Lightning, 3-2.

Matt Cullen recorded a goal and an assist and Chad LaRose netted the first shorthanded goal of the season for Carolina, which has won three of four following a five-game losing streak.

"We talked about it before the game. This is a huge 30-something games for us," Staal said. "We've got to win. There's a few other teams we're battling with, and we've got to bring our consistent work ethic and effort every night."

Needing to come up with a late goal in order to emerge victorious apparently does not bother Staal.

"Nope, that's fine, as long as we're winning," the 24-year-old said.

Cam Ward turned aside 27 shots to post his 100th career triumph and help the Hurricanes improve to 4-0-0 against the Lightning this season.

Former Hurricane Mark Recchi scored a goal and set up another while Ryan Malone also tallied for the Lightning, who were denied of winning four in a row for the first time this season.

"We played a good hockey game," Tampa Bay interim coach Rick Tocchet said. "I thought we played really well. They got the goal at the end to win the game. It's a tough one because the energy level was there, and the guys have been playing good. It's a heartbreaker."

Carolina has had problems generating much on the offensive end during its recent tailspin, averaging fewer than two goals in its previous eight games. During that span, the Hurricanes had been outscored, 27-15.

But Staal helped turn things around for one night as he beat goaltender Mike Smith after finding a loose puck on the doorstep, snapping a 2-2 deadlock.

"I thought we had some chances earlier that were better, probably, or maybe designed a little bit differently," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "But we're taking whatever we get."

The 40-year-old Recchi gave the Lightning an early lead by netting his 11th goal of the season with just over three minutes left in the first period. But Carolina forged a tie while down a skater as LaRose took a feed from Cullen and fired a wrist shot past Smith at 5:34 of the second.

"I thought it was a big goal," LaRose said. "It was good, it gave us a little jump-start. It got the crowd into it, and I thought we kind of took over from there."

The Hurricanes were the last team in the NHL to score a shorthanded goal.

"That was big," Staal said. "Anytime you can score shorthanded, that builds momentum and energy, and it really lifted our bench. It got everybody excited again."

Cullen put the Hurricanes ahead with 84 seconds remaining in the session, solving Smith with a wrist shot from the doorstep after grabbing the puck from behind the net.

"If you want to be a big-time goalie in this league, you've got to help the team win," Smith said. "You can't let in goals like that. You can't give the puck away like that.

"I just cost the team two points. This was the biggest game of the year. I'm sick to my stomach."

Tocchet gave Smith some credit for not only his effort, but owning up to his mistakes.

"(Smith) is a leader, and leaders do that," Tocchet said. "He's not hiding from that fact. He still had a good game. He'd probably like to have one (goal) back, but it is what it is."

Tampa Bay - which entered having won six of its previous eight - pulled even at 2-2 as Malone tipped in Recchi's initial attempt while stationed in the low slot at 5:10 of the third.

Smith made 28 saves for the Lightning, who have gone 10-7-1 since getting off to a 7-16-9 start.

"The margin of error is so small now that a loss like this, especially to a team we're trying to catch, is a huge loss," Tampa Bay's Jeff Halpern said. "However many games we have, we have to get to 10 games over .500, and right now, we're five games under.

"Every loss right now is a big loss. I thought we played well enough to at least get a point."






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    Lightning 2, Hurricanes 3  FinalJan 30 10:51 AM
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    Lightning 2, Hurricanes 3  FinalJan 29 10:37 PM


  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 1 2
    CAROLINA 0 2 1 3 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - MARK RECCHI 11 (UNASSISTED) 16:55
    2ND PRD: CAR - (SH) CHAD LAROSE 11 (MATT CULLEN) 5:34
    CAR - MATT CULLEN 11 (JONI PITKANEN) 18:36
    3RD PRD: TAM - RYAN MALONE 15 (MARK RECCHI, STEVE DOWNIE) 5:10
    CAR - ERIC STAAL

    Jan 29 9:32 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    CAROLINA 3
    3RD PRD: CAR - ERIC STAAL 21 (SERGEI SAMSONOV, TIM GLEASON) 18:24

    Lightning 2, Hurricanes 3  3rd - 1:36Jan 29 9:28 PM
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    Lightning 2, Hurricanes 3  3rd - 1:36Jan 29 9:28 PM
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    Lightning 2, Hurricanes 2  3rd - 3:49Jan 29 9:22 PM
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    Lightning 2, Hurricanes 2  3rd - 5:25Jan 29 9:18 PM
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    Lightning 2, Hurricanes 2  3rd - 7:57Jan 29 9:11 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 2
    CAROLINA 2
    3RD PRD: TAM - RYAN MALONE 15 (MARK RECCHI, STEVE DOWNIE) 5:10

    Lightning 2, Hurricanes 2  3rd - 14:50Jan 29 9:01 PM
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  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 0 1
    CAROLINA 0 2 2 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - MARK RECCHI 11 (UNASSISTED) 16:55
    2ND PRD: CAR - (SH) CHAD LAROSE 11 (MATT CULLEN) 5:34
    CAR - MATT CULLEN 11 (JONI PITKANEN) 18:36
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAM

    Jan 29 8:34 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    CAROLINA 2
    2ND PRD: CAR - MATT CULLEN 11 (JONI PITKANEN) 18:36

    Lightning 1, Hurricanes 2  2nd - 1:24Jan 29 8:32 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    CAROLINA 1
    2ND PRD: CAR - (SH) CHAD LAROSE 11 (MATT CULLEN) 5:34

    Lightning 1, Hurricanes 1  2nd - 14:26Jan 29 8:11 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAMPA BAY 1 1
    CAROLINA 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: TAM - MARK RECCHI 11 (UNASSISTED) 16:55
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    TAM 7 7
    CAR 13 13
    GOALIES: TAM - MIKE SMITH
    CAR - CAM WARD

    Jan 29 7:42 PM


  • NHL
    TAMPA BAY 1
    CAROLINA 0
    1ST PRD: TAM - MARK RECCHI 11 (UNASSISTED) 16:55

    Lightning 1, Hurricanes 0  1st - 3:05Jan 29 7:39 PM