Series (Game 1 of 6)

Tampa Bay leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, November 1st
Game 2: Sunday, November 9th
Game 3: Sunday, November 23rd
Game 4: Thursday, January 15th
Game 5: Wednesday, March 10th
Game 6: Saturday, March 13th

Hurricanes 3

(2-4-0, 8 pts)

Lightning 4

(7-0-0, 15 pts)

7:30 PM ET, November 1, 2003

Tampa Bay Times Forum, Tampa, Florida

1 2 3 T
CAR 0 1 23
TB 1 2 14

V. Lecavalier (Lightning - C): Goals: 2, Assists: 0

C. Stillman (Lightning - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

F. Modin (Lightning - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

8-game unbeaten streak Lightning record

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- A spilt-second decision by Cory Stillman became a game-winning one.

Stillman scored the tiebreaking goal from center ice with 8:09 left Saturday night to lift the Lightning to a 4-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes and keep Tampa Bay as the NHL's only undefeated team.

"Who'd figure?" Lightning coach John Tortorella said. "We end up winning the game on a goal like that."

Stillman was along the right wing boards when his long shot beat goalie Kevin Weekes, who moved in the wrong direction when he thought the Lightning left wing was going to send the puck behind the net.

"I just anticipated he was going to dump it," Weekes said. "The rest is pretty much history, obviously. It was frustrating. It was a bad break and just unfortunate timing. Just terrible."

Stillman saw Weekes move and took advantage for his sixth goal of the season.

"I didn't go all the way through with my shot when I saw where he was," Stillman said.

Vincent Lecavalier scored two goals for the Lightning, who have opened the season with a franchise-record eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1). Martin St. Louis had the other the Tampa Bay goal.

"We got a lucky goal, but in a month from now we won't remember how we won this game," St. Louis said. "It will be a victory in the column."

The NHL record for the longest undefeated streak to start the season is a 15-game run (12-0-3) by the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Josef Vasicek, Erik Cole and Radim Vrbata scored for the Hurricanes, who trailed by three goals late in the second period. Vasicek has five goals in the past three games.

The Lightning went up 3-0 on second-period goals by Lecavalier at 3:20 and 15:38.

St. Louis gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead on a rebound goal at 12:53 of the first.

Tampa Bay outshot the Hurricanes 11-2 during the first 15 minutes, but Weekes kept it close by making point-blank saves on St. Louis, Lecavalier and Dave Andreychuk.

"If it wasn't for him, we wouldn't have been in position to have a chance," Carolina defenseman Sean Hill said of Weekes, who used to play for the Lightning. "He's been our best player ... by a long shot."

Vasicek scored with 1:35 left in the second to get the Hurricanes within 3-1.

Carolina cut the deficit to 3-2 on Cole's goal just 47 seconds into the third period. Vrbata tied it at 3 at 9:37.

"We're not going to win them all," St. Louis said. "We're finding a way to win them. Sometimes it's ugly, sometimes it's pretty."

Game Notes: Tampa Bay has a six-game (4-0-2) unbeaten streak against the Hurricanes. ... Hill returned after missing two games because of a groin injury. ... Struggling Tampa Bay RW Ruslan Fedotenko was a healthy scratch. He has one assist in seven games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press