Lightning take control early, end 2016 with win over Hurricanes

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Carolina Hurricanes could actually enjoy the final seconds of a loss.

Carolina equipment manager Jorge Alves played the last 7.6 seconds of the Hurricanes’ 3-1 loss Saturday night to the Tampa Bay Lightning after signing a professional tryout contract to be the backup goalie in place of Eddie Lack, who is ill.

“It’s special, it’s unbelievable,” said Alves, who didn’t face a shot. “It’s still pretty emotional for me. Yeah, amazing. I just remember looking down the ice and seeing the puck in the corner, and saying, `Stay in that corner.'”

Lightning 3, Hurricanes 1

Alves, 37, has been one of Carolina’s full-time equipment managers since the 2012-13 season and practices with the team on a regular basis. He had several short stints in the ECHL and Southern Professional Hockey League.

“I think it was a special night, it’s a night he’ll never forget,” Carolina coach Bill Peters said. “A perfect storm of opportunity for him. It couldn’t happen to a better guy.”

The Hurricanes had Alves lead the team onto the ice for warmups, letting him skate around the Carolina zone in his No. 40 jersey by himself before joining him.

“I looked over, and I was `OK,'” Alves said. “It’s been a joke around the locker room that I might go in today. And for it to actually happen, I kind of pinched myself.”

Carolina, on its Twitter account, showed Alves sharpening skates and taping a stick while in uniform during the game.

“Can’t shake the habit,” Alves said with a smile. “I have a duty to the team.

Brian Boyle and Jonathan Drouin scored first-period power-play goals, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves for Tampa Bay.

Alex Killorn also scored for the Lightning, and Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman had two assists each.

Carolina got a goal from Sebastian Aho, and Cam Ward stopped 22 shots. The Hurricanes beat Chicago 3-2 on Friday night to extend their home point streak to 11 games (10-0-1). Carolina is 3-7-2 on the road over the same stretch.

Tampa Bay’s third-ranked power play got the better of the Hurricanes’ top-ranked short-handed unit in the first, converting two of three chances.

After Boyle scored 7:35 into the first, Drouin made it 2-0 at 19:50, just 3 seconds after a 5-on-3 concluded.

Carolina had allowed just eight goals on 86 short-handed situations entering the game.

“What’s challenging is they throw a lot of pressure at you,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “The key for us was, we won every faceoff before the goals, and you have to do that.”

The Hurricanes went 0 for 4 on the power play. Tampa Bay didn’t get a power play after the first period.

Boyle left in the second with a lower-body injury.

Killorn and Aho traded goals in the second.

NOTES

Alves’ mask features his fellow equipment managers. … Peters coached his 200th game with the Hurricanes. … Tampa Bay RW Ryan Callahan (hip) had a limited on-ice workout. … Hurricanes C Elias Lindholm (upper-body injury) didn’t play.

UP NEXT

Hurricanes: Host New Jersey Tuesday night.

Lightning: Play Winnipeg Tuesday night in the fourth of a five-game homestand.