NHL Game Night: 3-3-12 Lightning at Hurricanes

The Lightning are now getting close enough to smell it.

TB-4
CAR-3 (OT)

Mathieu Garon allowed 3 goals on 28 shots for the win. The guy makes just enough saves to get the W's. I can't say his save percentage is pretty, but he's making key saves at key times. The guy is 7 games over .500 now. Yeah, I'm surprised, too!

First Period
TB Wallace (1), (Shannon), 5:58

Second Period
CAR Stewart (8), (Staal, Spacek), 5:23
CAR Jokinen (10), (unassisted), 15:02
CAR Stewart (9), (Staal, Tlusty), 16:18
TB Stamkos (46), (unassisted), 18:00

Third Period
TB Purcell (19), (St. Louis, Malone)(PP), 7:24

Overtime
TB Stamkos (47), (Purcell)(PP), 2:41

Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis were the game's first and third stars. It would've been very easy for the Lightning to pack it up down 3-1 after their travel issues in a back-to-back game scenario. You can't undersell how important Stamkos' first goal in the game was.

Oh, memo to Showboat Malkin, #91 just passed you in the Art Ross Trophy race. Ta ta, for now.

And, just when it looked like the Lightning were going to fail on a third period 5-on-3, and that the powerless play was going to shut the lid on the season, Purcell got it done. Then Stamkos buried the 'Canes in overtime, again on the power play. It's gotten better in the past couple of weeks, and none too soon.

I forgot how sweet the tears of the 'Canes TV broadcast team were. Like cinnamon.

Now it gets really interesting, as the Lightning have pulled within 2 points of 8th place and 4 points of the Panthers for the division. Make no bones about it, the Panthers are starting to feel the back pressure coming from the Lightning, as should be the Caps and Jets. Tampa Bay gets Ottawa Tuesday night. Keep believing.

Keith Aulie had 1 hit in 8:54. The big man looked a little lost at times in his own zone. I am concerned.

Tim Wallace had his first NHL goal and was +2 with 1 shot on goal in 6:50. Enjoy it, young fella.

J.T. Wyman was -1 with 1 shot and 1 blocked shot in 12:07.

Box score and extended statistics from NHL.com.