Johnson scores 3 goals, Lightning beat Hurricanes 4-2
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The final score was much more important to Tyler Johnson than his fourth career hat trick.
Johnson had three goals, Yanni Gourde scored on a power play to put Tampa Bay ahead and the Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-2 on Tuesday night.
"I don't think too much about hat tricks. I'm more excited we won," Johnson said.
Johnson scored in all three periods, completing his hat trick on an empty-netter with 1:56 remaining.
"When he's skating, it's really game-changing for him," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "Boy, that kid was flying tonight."
Johnson also had a three-goal game against the Hurricanes last January.
After Carolina defenseman Calvin de Haan fanned on a clearing attempt, Gourde made it 3-2 on a pass from Ondrej Palat at 7:02 of the third.
Lightning backup Louis Domingue stopped 38 shots in his first start of the season. He made strong saves on Sebastian Aho and Micheal Ferland soon after Gourde's goal.
Ferland and Martin Necas had goals, and Petr Mrazek turned aside 23 shots for the Hurricanes.
After starting 4-0-1, Carolina has lost consecutive games by two goals to Stanley Cup contenders Winnipeg and Tampa Bay.
"We know that we can play with them," coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "The difference is we have little, little margin. So, when you self-destruct on certain things, that's going to come back to bite you against these great teams. That's what the lesson is."
Aho picked up an assist to extend his season-opening point streak to seven games (eight assists, 12 points), which is tied for third-longest in the history of the Carolina/Hartford franchise. Only Victor Rask (eight games, 2016-17) and Ron Francis (11 games, 1984-85) had longer runs.
Tampa Bay is 17-2-2 against Carolina since the start of the 2012-13 season.
Johnson picked up Tampa Bay's second short-handed goal this season 12:42 into the game and put the Lightning up 2-1 at 6:07 of the second. The forward, who snapped a 10-game regular-season goal drought, has 11 goals and 19 points in 18 games against Carolina.
Necas tied it 2-all with 7:12 left in the second on his first NHL goal, a one-timer from the left circle.
Aho stole Victor Hedman's clearing attempt and helped set up Ferland's game-opening goal 10:25 into the first.
The Lightning converted their only power play, while Carolina went 0 for 4. Tampa Bay is the only NHL team not to allow a power-play goal (18 for 18) this season.
The Hurricanes are 2 for 25 with the man advantage overall, and have allowed eight goals on 22 short-handed situations.
"As long as we don't let the negative part of our special teams drift into our overall game, then we're going to be all right," Brind'Amour said.
Carolina defenseman Dougie Hamilton had a game-high seven shots on goal. The line of Aho (four), Ferland (five) and Teuvo Teravainen (four) combined for 13.
Tampa Bay star Steven Stamkos has gone 16 regular-season games without a goal, dating to last season. He had one shot in 16 minutes of play.
NOTES: Domingue tweaked his neck playing basketball during a pregame workout but was cleared to play. . Carolina LW Brock McGinn was cut on the face early in the second on the follow-through of Stamkos' shot attempt. ... Mrazek was briefly shaken up in the second after being struck accidentally by Lightning RW Nikita Kucherov's stick behind the net. ... Mathieu Joseph got his first NHL point by assisting on Johnson's short-handed goal.
Hurricanes: Host Colorado on Saturday night.
Lightning: Wrap up a season-opening five-game homestand Thursday night against winless Detroit (0-4-2).