Jake Dotchin netted his third goal of the season with just over 10 minutes left in regulation to break a deadlock and Tyler Johnson’s hat-trick tally minutes later served as the game winner as the Tampa Bay Lightning claimed a 5-4 win over the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday in Tampa.
The Lightning needed both goals to close out the see-saw affair at Amalie Arena, as the visitors nearly completed a comeback in the dying minutes.
Johnson’s difference-making marker, a prime example of both his speed and determination, marks the first three-goal game of the season for a Tampa player, even though the high-flying Lightning sit atop the league standings and boast the NHL’s most potent attack.
Carolina’s Brock McGinn opened the scoring with an early power-play goal, finishing off a tap-in goal while left alone at the doorstep, but it didn’t take long to see it would be a wild game.
Victor Hedman evened the score at the midway point of the opening frame, beating Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward with a long wrister off the rush, but Sebastian Aho restored the Carolina lead when he took advantage of a turnover to corral a loose puck and sling a shot past Tampa netminder Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Johnson then joined the fun, first by tying the contest before the first intermission by deflecting a point shot, and then scoring quickly after the break by batting home a second rebound chance while he was falling down to give the hosts a 3-2 edge.
Again, though, a lead couldn’t be held. This time it was Carolina answering the challenge when Justin Faulk netted his team’s second man-advantage marker just past the midway point.
Faulk also scored late to make it a one-goal game, but it was too little, too late for the Hurricanes (19-15-8), who received a 29-save performance from Ward.
Tampa’s Braydon Point collected three assists and Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots for the Lightning (31-9-3).
The Lightning play host to the Calgary Flames on Thursday. The Hurricanes face the Washington Capitals to start a home-and-home series that same night.
—Field Level Media