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Lightning slip past Hurricanes, Peters in OT

The SportsXchange

TAMPA, Fla. -- Justin Peters could do only so much.

The Carolina Hurricanes goaltender made 47 saves on Saturday night but was helpless on Tampa Bay's 50th shot, an overtime winner on an odd-man rush by defenseman Radko Gudas in a 3-2 Lightning victory.

Gudas helped begin the decisive sequence with a hit on Jeff Skinner in the defensive zone that dislodged the left winger's stick. Gudas found open ice on a breakout, took a pass from Nate Thompson -- who notched his fifth assist -- and had Peters alone before snapping in his second goal of the season.

"We had a three-on-one, he was cheating a little bit on the pass and I decided to shoot," Gudas said. "To score in OT is always nice."

Tampa Bay (22-11-3) won its season-high fourth straight and Carolina (14-14-8) lost its fifth of six.

Despite losing two leads, the Hurricanes were begrudgingly content to escape with one point after playing on consecutive nights.

"I'm disappointed we weren't able to get that second point tonight," Peters said, "because you fight that hard through the whole game, you battle, you find a way to get to overtime and unfortunately we went able to get the job done."

Tampa Bay had dominated play but trailed 2-1 until right winger Martin St. Louis redirected defenseman Victor Hedman's blast from the point on a power play with 12:04 left in the third period. The goal was the Lightning captain's team-leading 15th. Hedman (11) and center Valtteri Filppula (14) earned assists.

Peters kept Carolina close with an exemplary performance in facing a Lightning team that set a season high in shots.

"We deserved better last night and we walk away with nothing," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said, referring to a 4-2 loss to Washington, "and our goaltender stole a point for us tonight.

"(Peters) obviously was the difference for us tonight."

Jiri Tlusty had two goals for the Hurricanes. The center gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 lead with 9:49 left in the second period when he scored his second goal of the game and Carolina's league-high seventh short-handed.

Peters had snuffed a backdoor chip attempt from Filppula less than a minute before and the Hurricanes responded when center Eric Staal skated onto defenseman Ron Hainsey's bank off the boards at the red line and found Jlusty skating alone up the ice. The assist was Staal's 20th. Hainsey had his fifth.

"I was trying to call for it and (Staal) has great vision, so he saw me blowing there and he made a great play," Jlusty said.

Peters was electric in the second period, turning to snap down another wide-open Filppula attempt from the backside with 1:04 left.

Tampa Bay outshot the Hurricanes 19-8 and controlled play throughout the first two periods but needed a late goal from Hedman for a 1-1 tie at the first intermission. The defenseman flicked in his seventh of the season after Filppula took a pass from center Alex Killorn and drew the defense by crossing the slot and passing to Hedman on the left wing. The assist was Filppula's 13th and Killorn's 12th.

"It's always a lot of fun to contribute at both ends of the ice," Hedman said. "It's all about who's joining the rush and five as an offense five as a defense. The 'D' got two goals tonight and we have to keep that going."

Carolina took a 1-0 lead less than four minutes into the game on Tlusty's fifth goal of the season. The left winger beat goaltender Ben Bishop (25 saves) with a shot that tucked into the upper-left corner of the goal as the goaltender leaned right to peek through traffic in a crowded slot. Right winger Patrick Dwyer and center Riley Nash were credited with their fifth assists.

NOTES: Carolina had been shut out in its two previous games against Bishop. ... Lightning C Tom Pyatt returned to the lineup after missing 32 games with a broken collarbone. ... Lightning LW Ryan Malone (ankle fracture) has resumed skating. He is not expected back until January. ... Carolina had lost four of its previous five games. ... The Hurricanes have an NHL-high seven short-handed goals, all on the road, which is also best in the league. ... Carolina signed G Daniel Altshuller, 19, to a three-year, entry-level contract. He is tied for the Ontario Hockey League lead in wins (20) and is third in the league in goals-against average (2.48) for Oshawa. ... Lightning D Eric Brewer skated off the ice in the second period favoring his right arm and did not return. ... St. Louis has 12 goals at home, ranking him third in the NHL. ... Filppula has a three-game points streak. ... Tampa Bay is 10-1-1 at home recently.
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