Posted December 31, 2011 on AP on Fox
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Steven Stamkos had his second hat trick this season and fifth overall to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday. Stamkos scored his third goal of the game and 26th of the season from the left circle on a power-play 43 seconds into the third. Just 22 seconds later Tampa Bay went up 4-2 on a goal by Teddy Purcell. The Lightning have won three in a row and five of seven. Carolina, 1-7-2 in Southeast Division games this season, got goals from Justin Faulk and Jay Harrison. Eric Staal had two assists, giving him three assists and five points in his last two games. Tampa Bay right wing Martin St. Louis, who finished with three assists, recorded his 500th career assist on Stamkos' third goal. The Lightning record for goals in a game is four, set by Chris Kontos in the team's first game on Oct. 7, 1992 against Chicago. Steve Downie scored a third-period goal at 6:51 and also had two assists for the Lightning. After Harrison scored a power-play goal 4:29 into the second, Stamkos got Tampa Bay even at 2 from the slot at 8:17. Stamkos put the Lightning up 1-0 off a pass through the crease by St. Louis during a 2-on-1 at 3:22 of the first. Stamkos has 10 goals and three assists over his last eight games. St. Louis has seven assists and one goal during a five-game point streak Faulk tied it at 1 on a rebound power-play goal from the low left circle with 3:48 remaining in the first. The Hurricanes entered play with the NHL's third-worst power play. NOTES: Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman said D Victor Hedman, hurt in Tuesday night's game against Philadelphia, has a concussion and will be sidelined indefinitely. ... Staal played in his 600th NHL game. Teammate, C Tuomo Ruutu, appeared in his 500th NHL game. ... Tampa Bay C Nate Thompson (lower body) will be re-evaluated Monday, while Lightning RW Ryan Shannon (knee) is two to three weeks from returning. ... Faulk and Harrison both stopped personal eight-game goal droughts. .
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