Tampa Bay at Carolina

Wesley completes comeback for Hurricanes with rare goal

CBSSports.com wire reports

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Nothing was going right for the Carolina Hurricanes, not in this game and certainly not this season against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Everything changed with one brilliant stretch of hockey.

"We knew that we hadn't played our best," Carolina defenseman Glen Wesley said. "We knew we had to go out there and not play in our heels."

And Wesley, of all people, came through with the game-winner, capping a huge third-period comeback with his first goal in more than nine months to help Carolina beat the Lightning 4-3 Friday.

Down 3-1 entering the final 20 minutes and headed toward another lopsided loss to their Southeast Division rival, the Hurricanes scored three goals in less than seven minutes to beat Tampa Bay for the first time this season.

"We felt we were due for a come-from-behind victory," Justin Williams said.

Carolina's Erik Cole returned after missing four games with a neck injury and assisted on Eric Staal's first-period goal, the 100th of his NHL career.

Vincent Lecavalier, the league's top scorer, padded his lead with a goal and an assist, and Vaclav Prospal and Paul Ranger also had goals for the Lightning.

"We got what we wanted for 40 minutes," Lecavalier said. "They've got a good veteran team, and they put it together in the third."

Tampa Bay won both previous games in the season series by the combined score of 11-2, and with Lecavalier leading the charge through two periods, another victory appeared secured. Tampa Bay held a 20-10 advantages in shots at that point.

But Carolina bounced back, and its oldest player had the deciding goal. The 39-year-old Wesley, who took the ice for his 1,402nd career game, sent a quick wrist shot through a screen by Staal to beat Johan Holmqvist.

It was Wesley's first goal in 36 games, when he scored shorthanded in overtime to beat Philadelphia on Feb. 22.

Ray Whitney and Williams had a hand in the comeback as well, beating Holmqvist with nearly identical shots to tie it at 3. First, Whitney took a pass from Matt Cullen and lifted a shot through defenseman Brad Lukowich that sailed over Holmqvist?s right shoulder.

Then Williams skated in on a 3-on-2 and shot from between the circles, again going high to beat Holmqvist on his pad side for the tying goal.

"We needed it," Carolina coach Peter Laviolette said. "We needed to come out and have a period like that."

That ruined a brilliant second period by Tampa Bay, which began with Prospal and Lecavalier joining Martin St. Louis on a nifty three-man weave to take its first lead at 2-1. St. Louis dropped a pass through his legs to Lecavalier, then took a return pass near the left circle.

Just as goalie Cam Ward committed, St. Louis sent the puck across the crease to Prospal for the relatively easy goal.

Lecavalier extended the lead when he bumped defenseman Bret Hedican off the puck near the blue line and skated in alone on Ward. It was his 15th goal of the season.

"We play really good for part of the game," Lecavalier said. "As soon as we make a mistake, it ends up in our net. It's a bad loss for us. There's no excuses."

The Hurricanes scored the first goal when Cole passed to Staal right beside the net, and after several swipes of his stick, the puck scooted through Holmqvist for a 1-0 lead.


  • Carolina visits Washington on Saturday before returning home for two more games. Early in the second period, the scoreboard flashed the final score from Arkansas' upset of No. 1 LSU, drawing loud cheers as college football's national championship chase became more complicated. Tampa Bay returns home for a game Saturday against New Jersey, then go back on the road for two more games.
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Despite being double-teamed, Ray Whitney is able to shoot the puck past Johan Holmqvist. (AP)
Despite being double-teamed, Ray Whitney is able to shoot the puck past Johan Holmqvist. (AP)
Tampa Bay (10-10-2)1203
Carolina  (13-7-3) «1034
Three Stars
E. Cole

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
C. Stillman

Goals: 0
Assist(s): 2
E. Staal

Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0

Related Video

Scoring Summary
04:53Eric Staal (14), Snap Shot. Assist: Cory Stillman, Erik Cole
14:03Paul Ranger (5), Wrist Shot. Assist: Michel Ouellet, Brad Richards
12:08Vaclav Prospal (13), Wrist Shot. Assist: Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier
14:27Vincent Lecavalier (15), Backhand Shot. Assist: Martin St. Louis, Filip Kuba
01:56Ray Whitney (10), Wrist Shot. Assist: Matt Cullen
06:01Justin Williams (9), Snap Shot. Assist: Rod Brind'Amour, Tim Gleason
08:39Glen Wesley (1), Wrist Shot. Assist: Erik Cole, Cory Stillman
Penalty Summary
14:40Cullen, 2 min, Hooking
01:30Gratton, 2 min, Holding
06:12Ward, 2 min, Tripping
16:51Wallin, 2 min, Hooking
17:47Lecavalier, 2 min, Slashing
09:47Gratton, 2 min, Holding
Shots On Goal
Tampa Bay128828
Johan Holmqvist59:14184
Cam Ward60:00253
Game Information
Attendance - 18033
Referees - Eric Furlatt, Steve Kozari
Linesmen - Ryan Galloway, Derek Nansen
Other Games
NJ 3 Final
Atl 0
Colu 4 Final
Min 0
NYI 1 Final
Bos 2
Van 1 Final
StL 3
NYR 2 Final
Fla 3
Wash 4 Final
Phi 3
Mon 2 Final
Buf 4
Pho 4 Final
Ana 3
Tor 1 Final
Dal 3