Hurricanes rally to beat Lightning in overtime
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes fall behind in the first two periods, then figure out a way to win after regulation.
The unconventional formula worked again Sunday night, with Jaccob Slavin scoring at 1:53 of overtime to give the Hurricanes a 4-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The Hurricanes improved to 3-0, for only the second time in franchise history, overcoming third-period deficits and winning after regulation in each. Carolina won its opener over Montreal in a shootout on Thursday night, then beat Washington in overtime on Saturday night.
It was Slavin’s turn Sunday to provide the overtime theatrics. He beat Curtis McElhinney on a shot from the right slot to give Carolina just its fifth win in 24 tries against the Lightning.
“We’ve got a resilient group in here,” Slavin said. “We’ve got to learn not to put ourselves in those holes and obviously play a stronger first two periods so we don’t have to rely on that third period and always be coming from behind. But it’s definitely a confidence-builder for the group and we hope we can continue on that path.”
Dougie Hamilton, Brett Pesce and Erik Haula also scored for Carolina, and the Hurricanes held the Lightning to just two shots after the first period. Petr Mrazek only had to make 10 saves for Carolina.
Haula, acquired by Carolina from Vegas in a draft-day trade, has scored in each of his first three games with the Hurricanes. He has quickly adapted to his role with his new team.
“You find a way to win,” Haula said. “It doesn’t matter how you get it. It’s a great start but there’s a lot of hockey left.”
Tyler Johnson, Kevin Shattenkirk and Steven Stamkos scored in the first period for Tampa Bay, and McElhinney, who helped the Hurricanes reach the Eastern Conference final last season, made 40 saves.
McElhinney won 20 games during the regular-season and then three more in the playoffs for Carolina last season. He signed a free-agent deal with the Lightning in the offseason and got his first start with his new team against his old team.
“It was a fun atmosphere,” McElhinney said. “They’re off to a great start and are playing really well. It’s unfortunate to be on the wrong side of it but you know, it’s nice to get my first game out of the way.”
Tampa Bay, which dropped its second straight game to open a six-game trip, led 3-1 after the first period. After Pesce’s goal just 1:14 into the game, McElhinney settled in and had a couple of point-blanks stops on Haula and Brock McGinn to limit the Hurricanes to one goal in the first 20 minutes.
Shattenkirk only needed 5 seconds with the man-advantage to give the Lightning a 2-1 at 9:53 in the first. Stamkos made it 3-1 on an unassisted goal at 17:44. Then Tampa Bay’s offense dried up. The Lighting had 11 shots in the first period and then two for the rest of the game.
Haula’s power-play goal, off a Hamilton rebound, cut it to 3-2 with 6:11 left in the second. Hamilton tied it on a power play with 7:12 left in the third period.
Second-year Carolina coach Rod Brind’Amour doesn’t want to make a habit of falling behind but does appreciate his team’s determination in its first 3-0-0 start since the 1995-96 season, when the franchise was the Hartford Whalers.
“It’s not ideal,” Brind’Amour said. “It’s not how you want to draw up but the fact that everyone is contributing and they’re giving you what they can, that’s good. It’s a good start for us.”
The Lightning swept the Hurricanes last season and had gone 19-4 against their former Southeast Division rivals since the start of the 2012-13 season. ... Tampa Bay didn’t have a shot on goal in the second period. It was the fourth time in franchise history the Lightning have gone a full period without a shot on goal. It was the first the Hurricanes had not allowed a shot in a period since the 2003-04 season. ... Johnson has 21 points (13 goals, 8 assists) in 21 career games against the Hurricanes. ... Former Carolina captain Justin Williams watched the game in a luxury suite with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper.
Hurricanes: At Florida on Tuesday night.
Lightning: At Toronto on Thursday night.
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