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Martin Necas scores twice to lead Hurricanes past Lightning

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Carolina’s Martin Necas scored twice, including the go-ahead power-play goal late in the third period, and added two assists as the Hurricanes beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-3 on Saturday night in Raleigh, N.C.

Necas ripped home the game-winning marker — his ninth goal of the season — from above the right circle on the Hurricanes’ sixth power play at 16:07. The tally helped them move to 3-3-0 against Tampa Bay in their last regular-season game hosting the first-place Lightning.

Carolina improved to 11-1-3 at home this season and is 10-1-2 in March. The win also lifted the club to within a single point of the defending Stanley Cup champions in the Central Division, with the Hurricanes holding one game in hand.

Sebastian Aho produced a goal and a helper and Cedric Paquette scored. James Reimer stopped 19 of 22 shots to win for the fifth time in his last seven starts (5-1-1).

Defenseman Dougie Hamilton assisted on the winning goal to stretch his franchise-record point streak to 14 games.

Tampa Bay’s Pat Maroon recorded a goal and assist, and Blake Coleman and Mathieu Joseph potted goals. Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed four goals on 40 shots.

Entering the game with the NHL’s longest active goal streak — five games — Lightning center Yanni Gourde failed to find the net.

In the opening period, Tampa Bay’s Jan Rutta sent a long shot from just inside the blue line that was headed toward Reimer, but Coleman redirected it in for his seventh tally.

The fourth line made it 2-0 when Reimer appeared to gather the puck near his crease, but it got away from him, with Maroon putting it in for his fourth tally.

In the second period, the Hurricanes came out checking harder and scored twice in 62 seconds to even the contest.

Paquette stung his former club when he took a pass from Necas, headed on a breakaway and watched his shot on Vasilevskiy’s stick side barely trickle in at 2:24.

Aho soon finished off some nifty tic-tac-toe passing from Necas and Nino Niederreiter around the Lightning cage for his team-leading 15th goal.

Adding on to his big second period, Necas took a deflection off Aho’s stick in the slot and fired home a bad-angle shot from Vasilevskiy’s left for his third power-play goal at 15:44.

In the third, Joseph roofed his ninth goal just 22 seconds in, but Necas scored the winner late for the victory.

–Field Level Media

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