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Hurricanes Rock Lightning


The Carolina Hurricanes did their job, and got some help in their playoff chase.

Martin Gelinas had his first two-goal game in almost a year and Sean Hill scored on a 75-foot shot as the Hurricanes beat Tampa Bay 5-2 on Saturday night. Coupled with the New York Islanders' 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh, the Hurricanes moved within four points of the Penguins for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff berth.

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  • "I think that Pittsburgh-Islanders game is a little unexpected," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "That's where you really make up the ground. It's important while we're winning a couple games that we do make up some ground."

    Gelinas made it 4-2 with a power-play goal at 10:10 of the third period. He closed out the scoring at the 16-minute mark in recording his first two-goal game since last Feb. 15.

    "To long, I can't remember that far," Gelinas said. "I was talking with some people back in Raleigh and I said it would be nice to get a two-goal game. Sure enough, today it happened."

    Robert Kron, Hill and Jeff O'Neill scored fluke second-period goals. The goals came on just five shots and gave the Hurricanes a 3-1 lead. Kron scored at 59 seconds when his centering pass from along the goal line deflected off goalie Dan Cloutier's stick. Hill's goal, at 2:47, came on a shot from the neutral zone, and O'Neill's goal, at 9:18, went in off a skate.

    Carolina's Rod Brind'Amour and Gary Roberts both pulled groin muscles. It was first believed Brind'Amour had a hip pointer.

    Maurice said Brind'Amour's injury is not considered serious, but that his status wouldn't be known until Sunday. Roberts said he doesn't expect to be back soon.

    "A lot of guys responded and played well," O'Neill said. "We had a game plan to get pucks on the net and go for rebounds. It's been successful for us when we shoot the puck a lot and drive the net."

    Cloutier, who had missed two games with the flu, was pulled after O'Neill's goal. Nils Ekman and Paul Mara had second-period power-play goals for the Lightning, who have lost five straight, 12 of 13, and 22 of the last 26.

    "I've had a lot of bad goals in my career and I forget about them," Cloutier said. "Carolina got two in a row and it's tough for my teammates to see allow all of these goals."

    Ekman scored his first NHL goal at 7:52 of the second period. Mara's goal 26 seconds before intermission made it 3-2.

    The Hurricanes wasted a 1:42 two-men advantage early in a first-period, mustering just two shots. The Lightning had allowed five power-play goals in 13 short-handed situations over the previous two games.

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