RALEIGH, North Carolina — Eric Staal and Nathan Gerbe got the Carolina Hurricanes off on the right foot Tuesday night, ending their struggles against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Staal, who scored on Carolina's first shift Tuesday night, and Justin Faulk each had a goal and an assist as the Hurricanes led the rest of the way in a 4-2 victory that broke a six-game losing streak in the series.
Jiri Tlusty also scored and Jordan Staal had two assists to help Carolina win its third straight. The Hurricanes, 7-2-1 in their last 10, snapped the Lightning's three-game winning streak.
Carolina goalie Anton Khudobin finished with 28 saves for his sixth straight win.
"It was huge," Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said of the quick start. "Playing catch-up hockey is losing hockey in this league. We want to start on time. It's part of the culture we want to establish, and we've done that here recently.
"It's been a good month. Guys have improved and we've continued to grow. It's all a process and a plan and we'll just continue to work the plan."
Cedric Paquette and Brian Boyle scored for Tampa Bay. Ben Bishop stopped 18 shots to fall to 5-1-0 all-time against the Hurricanes.
The Lightning had won nine of the previous 10 meetings.
"It was terrible," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of his team's start. "We came out and gave a goal up in the first (22) seconds. That's unacceptable — it's basically an 'own goal.'
"But we've got to give them credit. They're going to the net and we're down two-zip before you know it. I thought we carried the last half of the first, but their goalie made the saves."
Carolina right wing Alexander Semin was a healthy scratch for the eighth time in 12 games since Jordan Staal rejoined the lineup following his recuperation from a broken leg.
Carolina led 2-1 after the penalty-free first period despite being outshot 14-7.
Eric Staal scored from the right circle on an assist from his brother Jordan just 22 seconds into the game, the puck ricocheting into the net off the stick of defenseman Anton Stralman.
"We'll take it," Eric Staal said. "We were down in there and and they were not as sharp with the puck down in their end. It's always nice to get a two-goal lead, especially against that team.
"It's been a lot more fun being on the right side of the games (after a 10-23-4 start.) It's a good feel with our lineup. Guys know their roles and what's being asked of them and they're contributing."
Gerbe doubled the lead at 6:05, picking up the puck in the left circle and slamming it past Bishop stick-side following Brett Bellemore's blast from the right point that tipped Elias Lindholm before ricocheting off the end boards.
Paquette got the Lightning on the board at 14:05, the puck slowly sliding between Khudobin's pads off the skate of defenseman Bellemore in a crowded crease.
Faulk added a power-play goal for the Hurricanes on a blast from the high slot at 7:27 of the second.
"In this league any team can win on any given night," said Faulk, who was the Hurricanes' sole representative in the All-Star Game on Sunday. "I know that's kind of cliche, but what separates the best teams from the worst teams is who does it more consistently, who brings their game 60 minutes. When we're able to go that we can get up there. It's nice to have a full, healthy lineup every night."
Boyle got a short-handed goal for Tampa Bay with 5:54 left in the second, when he stole the puck from Victor Rask along the left boards and skated in untouched.
But Tlusty scored on a rush from Faulk at 7:53 of the third.
NOTES: Tampa Bay will host Detroit on Tuesday night, while Carolina will host St. Louis on Friday night ... Eric Staal's first-period goal was the Hurricanes' fastest to start a game this season, and the earliest Carolina goal since Semin scored 16 seconds into a 3-2 win at Tampa Bay on April 21, 2013. ... Carolina D Ryan Murphy was recalled from Charlotte of the AHL on Tuesday. ... C Andrej Nestrasil and D John-Michael Liles were also healthy scratches for the Hurricanes. ... Carolina D Ryan Murphy was recalled from Charlotte (AHL) earlier on Tuesday. ... RW J.T. Brown and D Luke Witkowski were healthy scratches for Tampa Bay.
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