‘Canes drop 3rd in a row to Lightning, 3-1

Carolina Hurricanes

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce (22) watches his shot get past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney (35) for a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

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TAMPA (WNCN) – One-time Carolina netminder Curtis McElhinney saved 31 of the 32 shots he faced Thursday to help Tampa Bay to its third win in a row over the Hurricanes, 3-1.

Carolina had shutout the Lightning in their first two meetings, but has since been beaten three times by the defending Stanley Cup champions by a combined score of 10-3.

The Hurricanes were unsuccessful on each of their six power-play opportunities. They were 1-of-11 on the man advantage in the past three games against Tampa Bay.

The ‘Canes drew first blood with 5:37 left in the first period. They quickly transitioned defense to offense. Jesper Fast streaked down the left wing on a 2-on-1 and lifted the puck over the stick of a diving Blake Coleman, teeing it up for Brett Pesce, who had jumped up into the play.

Mikhail Sergachev tied the game in the second period with his first goal of the season. Yanni Gourde scored the go-ahead goal less then 7 minutes into the third period. McElinney earned an assist as he made a save, then left the puck for Victor Hedman who in turn whipped it up the rink. Gourde, on his off-wing on the right side, found some space and beat James Reimer on the far side.

The ‘Canes move on to a pair of games in Florida. They fell 4-3 in overtime in their only game against the Panthers so far this season.

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