Carolina Hurricanes goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) makes a save against Tampa Bay Lightning's Blake Coleman as Dougie Hamilton (19) defends during the second period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)

Lightning Fall to Hurricanes 4-1; Carolina Ties Atop Central Division

After defeating the Carolina Hurricanes Monday night in overtime, the Hurricanes came for revenge against the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday night. A three-goal second period from the Hurricanes (30-10-5) propelled the team over the Lightning (30-14-2) Tuesday 4-1.

Vasilevskiy Struggles in Second Period

Steven Lorentz, Nino Niederreiter, and Jordan Staal all scored goals against Lightning goalie Andre Vasilevskiy in the second period. After a scoreless first period, Niederreiter got the scoring started, rocketing a wrist shot in the top corner of the goal 7:48 into the second period.

The goal gave Neidereitter his 16th on the season. Just 25 seconds later, Staal extended the Carolina lead to 2-0, deflecting a shot from the blue line that skid past Vasilevskiy for the goal. With three minutes left in the period, Lorentz made it 3-0. Morgan Geekie assisted Lorentz allowing him to score his second goal of the season.

Despite the poor second period from the usually dominant Lightning net-minder, Vasilevskiy was able to stop 32 Carolina shots.

Hurricanes Play Tough Defensively to Halt Comeback

Yet, the Lightning answered quickly after the third goal. Brayden Point netted his 20th goal of the season, cutting the Tampa Bay deficit to 3-1. As the second-period horn sounded, the Hurricanes took a two-goal lead into the locker room.

However, the Lightning had no answer for the Hurricanes goaltender, as Alex Nedeljkovic stopped 26 Tampa Bay shots. The Hurricanes were able to add on an empty-net goal, as Jordan Martinook easily scored with 2.2 seconds left. The Carolina victory earned Nedeljkovic his 11th win in the net on the season and the team’s 30th win.

Throughout the game, the Lightning were able to land 34 hits but were outshot by the Hurricanes 27-36.

A Tight Central Division Race

With just ten games remaining in the NHL regular season, the Lightning see themselves three points back behind the division-leading Hurricanes and Florida Panthers. The Lightning currently hold 62 points, while the Panthers and Hurricanes each have 65 points.

Moreover, the Lightning will be back in action Thursday, taking on the Columbus Blue Jackets at home. The Hurricanes are set to take on the Panthers on the road for two games, as each team will hope to take a solo lead atop the central division.

About Bennett Solomon

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