Steven Stamkos recorded his 100th career goal, Vincent Lecavalier got his 750th career point and Martin St. Louis had what turned out to be the game winning goal and two assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-1 Monday night.
Tampa Bay started slow, but picked things up midway through the first period. Dominic Moore got around Hurricanes defenseman Joe Corvo before backhanding the puck past Hurricanes goaltender Justin Peters.
The Hurricanes got on the scoreboard a few minutes after Moore's goal on an odd bounce that Sergei Samsonov got enough of to tie the score at one.
St. Louis took it from there. He fired a shot past Peters with one second remaining in the first period to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead that they never relinquished.
The Lightning dominated the second period but were unable to score until the 14:51 mark when Brett Clark fired a shot from the point past Peters for a 3-1 lead.
It was then time for the milestones.
Steven Stamkos poked a Martin St. Louis rebound past Peters on the Lightning's first power play for his 26th goal of the season, 100th of his career and a 4-1 lead just past the 16-minute mark of the second period.
Vincent Lecavalier then picked up his 750th career point after assisting on Sean Bergenheim's power play goal with about two minutes remaining in the second period to give the Lightning a 5-1 lead.
Lightning goaltender Dan Ellis was superb in net, stopping 21-of-22 shots faced after getting the start because of a knee injury suffered by Mike Smith in practice Monday morning. He had his best save just before the Lightning made it 3-1 in the second period.
The Lightning, now at 42 points, are second to only the Atlanta Thrashers in the tightly contested Southeast Division.
The Lightning now head to New York City for back to back games Dec. 22 against the New York Islanders and Dec. 23 against the New York Rangers before breaking for Christmas.
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