TAMPA, Fla. -- Two Tampa Bay players scored their first NHL goals on Saturday as the Lightning generated offense from unexpected sources and a badly needed win over the Southeast Division-leading Carolina Hurricanes at Tampa Bay Times Forum.
The 4-1 victory ended a five-game home losing streak for the Lightning (12-15-1), who had dropped eight of their previous 10 games. The win kept Tampa Bay's gasping playoffs hopes alive. The Lightning passed the Washington Capitals in the Southeast Division and moved within six points of the first-place Hurricanes.
Carolina (15-11-1) has now dropped three of five.
Tyler Johnson gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead with 9:06 left in the first period with his first NHL goal. Recalled last week when captain Vincent Lecavalier was placed on injured reserve, the 22-year-old was leading the American Hockey League in goals and continued his pace in his second career NHL game.
Johnson gathered in a ricochet along the left board and had space and time to shoot over goaltender Justin Peters' shoulder while defenseman Justin Faulk attempted to cover Johnson and Cory Conacher at the net. Conacher and Alex Killorn received assists.
Tampa Bay boosted its lead to 2-0 with 13:25 left in the second period on Ondrej Palat's first NHL goal, a tip-down of a Sami Salo slap shot from the high slot. Salo and Johnson were credited with assists.
Nate Thompson made it 3-0 at 7:05 of the second period when he broke out of the neutral zone while Drayson Bowman attempted unsuccessfully to keep up, crossed over and backhanded in the puck. The goal was Thompson's sixth of the season. B.J. Crombeen and Matt Carle were awarded assists.
Teddy Purcell scored on a breakaway for his fifth of the year and a 4-0 lead less than four minutes into the third period. Martin St. Louis and Victor Hedman had assists.
Eric Staal scored his 13th goal of the season in the third period for Carolina.
NOTES; Tampa Bay had won the previous two meetings this season at PNC Arena. The Lightning were second in the NHL with an average 3.26 goals per game. ... Carolina right winger Alexander Semin entered with five goals and 10 assists in his previous 10 games. ... Lightning goaltender Anders Lindback was 2-3 recently but had allowed no more than two goals in a game during that stretch. ... Carolina center Tuomo Ruutu (hip surgery) is ahead of schedule in his rehab and could return soon. ... Tampa Bay recalled center Dana Tyrell from Syracuse, its American Hockey League affiliate. ... Adam Hall, released by the Lightning on Saturday, was claimed by Carolina and switched locker rooms for the game. ... Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier missed his second straight game since being placed on injured reserve because a lower-body injury. ... Two-time Maurice Richard winner Steven Stamkos reached 20 goals at 26 games, the quickest of his career.