Tampa Bay Lightning sets new franchise record in win over Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 21: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during an NHL game against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 21, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
RALEIGH, NC - MARCH 21: Steven Stamkos #91 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during an NHL game against the Carolina Hurricanes on March 21, 2019 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Tampa Bay Lightning came from behind to set a new franchise record in their 6-3 win over the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC Center in Raleigh.

The Tampa Bay Lightning put on quite the performance just 24 hours ago as they defeated the defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Washington Capitals, 5-4 in overtime at the Capital One Arena in Washington. Tonight, the Lightning were at it again as they charged into the PNC Arena ready to take on the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes certainly had a lot more on the line tonight than the Lightning did. Heading into tonight’s encounter, the Canes occupied the first Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for Carolina, their position is not what one would call secured. Just three points behind them are the Columbus Blue Jackets. In other words, points are critical at this point for the Hurricanes.

The Tampa Bay Lightning got the first shot at the man advantage as Hurricanes forward Nino Niederreiter made his way to the sin bin for Interference against Lightning forward Tyler Johnson. The Bolts wasted no time in capitalizing on their opportunity.

It would be the captain, who would pick up his 38th goal of the season and strike first blood for the Bolts. The assists on the Steven Stamkos goal would go to defenseman Victor Hedman and forward Brayden Point.

Regrettably, the Hurricanes wouldn’t wait very long to even the score. Just before the halfway point in the period, Niederreiter would hit the back of the net for his 21st goal of the season to tie things up for the Hurricanes. Under normal circumstances, this would be no cause for panic. There was plenty of hockey left to play at this point in the game. The thing is…the Hurricanes weren’t done just yet.

Under two minutes later, the Hurricanes would strike for a second time with a goal from defenseman Dougie Hamilton. So…still, not a real cause for “panic” but definitely a wakeup call. The Bolts would need to refocus their energies and get their heads back in the game moving forward.

The Bolts would find themselves in a rather precarious position as the first period forged on. Yanni Gourde would make contact with the head of Hurricanes forward Jordan Staal as he fell to the ice. Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk took exception to this and went to town on Gourde.

The referees would elect to make an example of Gourde by giving him a five minute major for Illegal Check to the Head as well as a Match Penalty. On the other side of the ice, van Riemsdyk would head to the sin bin for two minutes for Roughing.

Don’t get it twisted, rules are rules and there is nothing that can be done about it. Where things become questionable is when the officials make an example of incidental contact by a player with no disciplinary record yet allow Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson to show out almost every single night with little to no repercussions. If you’re going to call things, call them down the middle.

So…the bad news here is the Lightning would now be without Yanni Gourde for the remainder of the game thanks to the match penalty. On the flip side, this seems to have ignited a bit of a fire under the Lightning.

There was less than a minute left in the period when the Lightning would strike once again and tie things up. This one would be off the stick of Lightning forward Tyler Johnson. For Johnson, this would be his 27th goal of the season. The assists on Johnson’s goal would go to defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward Nikita Kucherov.

Fun Fact: Nikita Kucherov’s assist on the Johnson goal would be his 120th point of the season.

When the buzzer would sound to end the first 20 minutes of play, the Lightning and Hurricanes would be tied at two goals apiece. The Bolts were outshot by the Canes in the first; however, it would be the Lightning who would securely hold dominion over the faceoff circle.

The two teams made their way back to the center of the ice to start the second period. What no one knew at the time was the drama that would ensue in the opening minutes of the period.

Allow us to take you back to the first period where Yanni Gourde received a match penalty for incidentally making contact with the head of Jordan Staal. Well, it seems the sword only cuts one way when it comes to the NHL Officiating Staff.

At 6:12 in the period, Hamilton would blatantly elbow Cedric Paquette in the head. Paquette was understandably upset but somehow managed to rein it in and keep his cool. The key difference here…Hamilton would get nothing more than a two-minute penalty for Elbowing.

Needless to say, Lightning fans were rightfully incensed. As we said before, if you’re going to call something, you have to call it down the middle. A head shot is a head shot, no matter how you look at it.

Things escalated to another level when Lightning Head Coach Jon Cooper and Hurricanes Head Coach Rod Brind’Amour started shouting at each other across the bench. Apparently, Brind’Amour didn’t think Hamilton deserved a penalty for his elbow against Paquette.

Tampa Bay Lightning
Tampa Bay Lightning /

Tampa Bay Lightning

It wasn’t long after the penalty to Hamilton that the Hurricanes would strike again with a goal from Staal, who had returned to the ice after the collision with Gourde. The assists on Staal’s goal would go to forward Teuvo Teravainen and defenseman Brett Pesce.

There would be a lot of good done on both sides, but when the buzzer sounded to end the 2nd period of play the Carolina Hurricanes would lead the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2. The Lightning would close the shot differential in the second period outshooting the Hurricanes 10-6 for a two-period total of 17-19 in favor of the Hurricanes. The Bolts would continue their domination of the faceoff circle, going 65-35 through two.

The third period was essential for the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts needed to hit the ice with glorious purpose and retake control of the game. Thankfully for Bolts fans, this is exactly what happened.

Just after the three-minute mark in the period when Anthony Cirelli would pick up his 17th goal of the season to tie things up for the Bolts. The assists on Cirelli’s goal would go to Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman. This gave both Stamkos and Hedman multi-point games tonight in Raleigh.

The Lightning offense kicked things into high gear as the period progressed, fighting tooth and nail to keep the puck in the offensive zone. While the Bolts may not have been able to make anything happen off the rush, it was definitely nice to see the fire back in their eyes.

It was around the halfway point in the period when the Lightning would strike once again. The birthday boy, Ryan Callahan, would pick up his 7th goal of the season with assists from Victor Hedman and J.T. Miller. This would retake the lead for the Bolts with nine minutes and 51 seconds left in the third.

At this point, the Lightning could’ve hunkered down and done little more than holding the Hurricanes off for the remainder of the game. The thing is, this just isn’t the Lightning’s style.

The Lightning ended up with the man advantage at 15:51 in the period as Hurricanes forward Michael Ferland would make his way to the sin bin for Tripping against Lightning forward Ondrej Palat. Brayden Point wasted little time in picking up his 39th goal of the season with the assists to Stamkos and Miller.

The Bolts weren’t done there. The Hurricanes pulled their goaltender, Curtis McElhinney, with a little over two minutes left in the game. Regrettably, for the Hurricanes, this did not work to their advantage. Lightning defenseman Ryan McDonagh would fire the puck clear across the ice to pick up his 9th goal of the season.

23. 3. 109. Final. 6

When the buzzer sounded, the Bolts would finish off their back-to-back series with a 6-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Despite their troubles early in the game, this turned out to be an incredibly exciting night of hockey for the Bolts Nation. The Lightning was able to refocus their efforts in the third and do what they do best, score goals and win games.

The Tampa Bay Lightning set a number of records tonight in their win over the Hurricanes. The first of these records is a new franchise record. The Lightning scored six goals against the Hurricanes, which increased their season total to 298. This exceeded the record they set just one season ago with 296.

Tonight was also a milestone for Head Coach Jon Cooper. Coop picked up his 300th victory in his 500th NHL game. Coach Cooper has had some bumps along the way, but there is no denying the magic he’s worked with the Tampa Bay Lightning this season. Every night it seems as if a new history-making moment comes into play.

Also, with their 58th win of the season, the Lightning has moved into fourth place in NHL history for most wins in a single season. The only three teams in front of them at this point are the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens, the 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens, and the 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings. It should be noted; the Montreal Canadiens won the Cup in both aforementioned seasons.

The game definitely didn’t start out the way the Tampa Bay Lightning would’ve wanted, but when the final buzzer sounded, the Bolts did what they had to do in order to get the job done. They battled back and played their game the way they have all season long.

Now, the Lightning will have the next 24 hours to rest and recharge before they make their way Enterprise Center to take on the St. Louis Blues. The Blues are currently on a two-game win streak, having defeated the Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings, respectively.

At this point, the Tampa Bay Lightning needs to remain vigilant and continue to play their game, their way. The Bolts need to keep the pressure on and not allow themselves to get complacent and let their opponents dictate the pace of the game. This has been an amazing season thus far and we don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to see what the final seven games of the season have in store for the Bolts Nation.

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The puck is set to drop at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday night. Brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen. The Tampa Bay Lightning and their fans are in for one heck of a wild ride over the next two weeks.