RALEIGH, N.C. (FNN SPORTS) – The Lightning and the Hurricanes were both coming off road games the night before meeting in Carolina for their first regular season match up. At the start of the first period, Carolina came out skating fast and applying the offensive pressure to their former teammate, Curtis McElhinney, who split playing time in the goal for the Hurricanes last season.
Although Gemel Smith won the face-off against Lucas Wallmark 1:54 into the first period, the Hurricanes got on the board when Brett Pesce shot off a pass from Brock McGinn. A little over a minute later, Tampa’s Victor Hedman passed the puck to Tyler Johnson, who responded to Carolina’s goal with a slap shot, tying up the game 1-1. The Hurricanes have already shown that they are a fast-paced team that can cause opposing teams to lose composure and fail to set their own rhythm, and the Bolts immediately realized they needed to pick up the pace. As the period continued, Sergachev found Shattenkirk to assist with a needed goal, placing Tampa Bay ahead 2-1. Then, with 2:16 left in the period, Stamkos netted an unassisted goal.
The Lightning carried their momentum into the 2nd period until Erik Haula’s successful backhand in a Carolina power play goal. The 2nd consisted a lot of pressure on the Bolts defensive men and goalie. With 7:12 left in the 3rd period, Dougie Hamilton put a slap shot in the Bolts goal, tying up the game.
As the Lightning fought to not let this game go into overtime, they still struggled to pick up offensively or set up any executable plays. The frustration continued as the Lighting and the Hurricanes took the game into overtime. Carolina forced their first two games into OT which ended in their favor, and last night was no exception as the Hurricanes were first on the board in OT, securing them the win.
It was a tough loss for Tampa, but Tyler Johnson and Curtis McElhinney had similar postgame comments regarding their struggle to score and create offensive opportunities. Although the Bolts will still be awarded one point, they now have their eyes set on Toronto as they continue their extended road schedule.