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Carolina Beats Tampa Bay 4-1; Nedeljkovic Makes 26 Saves

JL Matthews

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Tampa Bay, FL -- Nino Niederreiter led the way with a goal and an assist, as the Carolina Hurricanes (30-10-5, 65pts) defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning (30-14-2, 62pts) 4-1 on Tuesday night.

Jordan Staal, Jordan Martinook, and Steven Lorentz also scored for Carolina.

Brayden Point scored for Tampa Bay.

"I think everybody was a little angry from [Monday's] game, and we were a little disappointed with how we came out," Nino Niederreiter said, referring to Monday's overtime loss to Tampa Bay. "We knew exactly what we had to bring and how we needed to respond...We ended up getting rewarded."

Niederreiter got the Canes on the board at 7:48 of the 2nd period, taking a feed from Vincent Trocheck and beating Andrei Vasilevskiy for his 16th goal of the season.

The goal only raised the intensity between the two teams. On the faceoff following the goal, Jordan Martinook and Barclay Goodrow threw down, bringing both benches to their feet. Only 25 seconds later, the Canes' lead swelled to two as Jordan Staal tipped a point shot into the net.

The goal came after a prolonged battle between Staal and Yanni Gourde.

"It's nice when you get those, especially against a guy you're battling with all night," Canes head coach Rod Brind'Amour said after the game. "He's had so many looks here, the last few games, it's nice to see him get rewarded [with a goal]."

Carolina's fourth line of Lorentz, Geekie, and Paquette played well all night, and at 16:45 of the 2nd period, they were rewarded.

Lorentz got his 2nd career goal and lifted the Canes to a 3-0 lead.

"Obviously, [my line] isn't expected to go out and put up two or three points a night, and we know that," Lorentz said after the game. "Our job is to basically keep it simple...I got a good shot on net, and it went in."

Alex Nedeljkovic (11-4-2, .932 SV%, 1.87 GAA) won his third-straight start. He made 26 saves on 27 shots faced.

"We've got [a full team] here, on a daily basis, getting ready to go every night, and we believe that we do something special here," Nedeljkovic said after the win. "We believe we can go far [in the playoffs] and be the last team standing."

With the win, Carolina moves into a tie with Florida (65pts) at the top of the Central Division standings. However, Carolina retains two games in hand on the Panthers. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay (62pts) falls into 3rd place in the division. They retain one game in hand on the Panthers and play their final two regular-season games against them.

Housekeeping

Sebastian Aho, Jesper Fast, Morgan Geekie, Martin Necas, Cedric Paquette, Dougie Hamilton, and Vincent Trocheck each recorded one assist for the Canes.

Ondrej Palat and Ryan McDonagh each had an assist for Tampa Bay.

Brady Skjei left the game after taking a hit behind his own net. Brind'Amour praised the other defenseman's effort after Skjei left the ice and noted that Skjei might have sustained a concussion on the play.

"[Skjei] got hit from behind in the first period...It was a hit from behind; I can tell you that...We got a guy who might have had a concussion for it. So, I'm not happy about that."

Teuvo Teravainen (concussion), Brock McGinn (upper body), Jake Bean (healthy), and Petr Mrazek (healthy) did not dress for the game.

Andrei Vasilevskiy (27-8-1, .930 SV%, 2.08 GAA) took the loss for Tampa Bay. Vasilevskiy made 32 saves on 35 shots faced.

Up Next

Carolina: The Hurricanes travel to South Florida to take on the Florida Panthers on Thursday night at 7:00 ET.

Tampa Bay: The Lightning remain at home to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday evening at 7:00 ET.

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JL Matthews is a writer with interests spanning history, humor, tv/film, parenting, and more. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he is a 6x Top Writer on Medium. Follow him on News Break, Medium, and Twitter for updates and latest work.

Raleigh, NC
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