The Tampa Bay Lightning opened up the regular season the same way it ended its regular season last year, with a road win over the Carolina Hurricanes.
Twelve different Lightning players had points in Friday night’s 5-1 win at the RBC center.
The Lightning had five unanswered goals starting with Vincent Lecavalier’s go-ahead goal that was scored in the final minutes of the second period.
Jeff Skinner scored Carolina’s only goal which gave the Hurricanes an early 1-0 lead at 8:07 in the first period. Skinner, last year’s rookie of the year, had a center ice takeaway in the first period that set up multiple attempts against Roloson, who was forced to come up with some key saves early on in the game. Roloson saved 32 out of the 33 shots he faced.
The two penalties against Carolina at 2:29 of the second period fueled Tampa Bay’s scoring frenzy. Justin Faulk, a 19 year old defensemen who is making his NHL debut, was called for interference while Jussi Jokinen was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty after backhanding a puck, seemingly in frustration to an official. It only took Vincent Lecavalier 19 seconds into the man advantage to put one past Cam Ward.
Lecavalier’s goal was booed by some Carolina fans but his stick was clearly below the cross bar when made the baseball-esque move to bat a mid-air puck past the Hurricanes netminder. Lecavalier’s goal gave the Lightning a 2-1 lead late in the second period. Steven Stamkos, who had two assists on the night, set up Lecavalier’s go-ahead goal.
Downie extended that lead with the Lightning’s second power play goal of the game at Adam Hall then made it a three goal game 10 seconds later. Downie and Hall’s goals are the second fastest goals scored in franchise history for the Lightning. Ryan Malone scored on a wrist shot with 3:02 remaining, after being set up by an impressive pass from Teddy Purcell.
Tampa Bay’s special teams came up big in the win, including two power play goals and five penalty kills, limiting Carolina to only three shots on the man advantage.
The Lightning continue their five game road trip with a rematch against the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins Saturday night at TD Garden.
The Lightning are 11-6-2 all-time in season openers...Tampa Bay defensemen Brett Clark played in his 600th career game... Carolina has lost five out of six true home openers...Prior to puck drop the Hurricanes held a moment of silence for Josef Vasicek, a member of their 2006 Stanley Cup team winning team, who was killed in last month’s plane crash that killed the Russian club Lokomotiv.