It was a career game for Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes.
And Tuomo Ruutu.
Add in a big game from Erik Cole and the Canes' top line accounted for six goals and nine assists Saturday as Carolina blitzed the Tampa Bay Lightning 9-3 at St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, tying the franchise record for goals in a road game.
Staal had his first four-goal game, giving him 32 goals for the season, while also adding two assists for a career-high six points. He tied franchise records for goals and points in a game set by three players including Ron Francis, a Hall of Famer who is now the Canes' associate head coach.
"It was one of those games that doesn't happen very often," Staal said. "It was a good win for our team, which was the bottom line, but it's fun getting points."
Ruutu finished with two goals and three assists for the first five-point game of his career. Then there was Cole, brought back to the Canes on Wednesday in a trade with Edmonton, who had four assists.
Canes' Rod Brind'Amour scored his first goal since Dec. 23, and his steal on the penalty kill set Staal up for his first goal — a shorthanded score that gave Carolina a 1-0 lead.
"That was a great game for him," Brind''Amour said. "I think every thing he touched tonight was gold."
The Canes, who scored six times in the second period to surge to a 9-1 lead, moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference. Carolina has won seven of its last nine games and swept all six games with the Lightning this season.
It was Cole's second game in the Canes' lineup since being reacquired in a three-team trade that sent forward Justin Williams to the Los Angeles Kings. He now has five points in two games after scoring a goal in the Canes' 6-1 win Friday over Calgary.
"We had a physical effort (against Calgary) and were concerned," Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "You need your best players to kind of drive your team at that point. He, Erik and Tuomo were very quick, very fast."
Veteran winger Ray Whitney had a hat trick against the Flames. With Staal scoring four times, it was the first time since the franchise moved to North Carolina that the Canes had hat tricks in back-to-back games.
The last time the franchise had nine games in a road game: the Hartford Whalers' 9-6 win at Quebec on Oct. 8, 1989
The Canes got two goals from defensemen — Anton Babchuk and Joe Corvo, both on big outside blasts. Winger Sergei Samsonov also had a pair of assists after his goal and assist against Calgary.
Staal had scored one goal in his last six games — in the Canes' 5-2 win Tuesday in Washington. Against Calgary, he had two assists in Cole's return game.
But Brind'Amour fed him for the shortie. Cole then roared down the right wing along the boards with the puck and set up him for another as the Canes led 3-1 after the first period.
"I know what he's going to do and he knows what I'm going to do," Staal said of Cole. "He has so much speed and likes to go to the outside. He just laid it out there — a great pass."
Staal's final two goals came at even-strength in the second period, poking in the puck and then taking a feed from Ruutu.
Francis had four goals in a February 1984 game against Washington, and Jordy Douglas also had four goals in a 1980 game. Francis had two six-point six-point games for the Whalers and Paul Lawless had one.
Brind'Amour and Ruutu scored power-play goals in the second period, and Ruutu added an even-strength goal to give him 19 for the season.
With the Canes scoring a season-high nine times, the Lightning pulled starting goal Mike McKenna when it was 3-0. In came Karri Ramo, who gave up six goals on 22 shots and had McKenna back on the ice in the third.
Martin St. Louis scored for the Lightning in the first period, with Vincent Lecavalier and Ryan Malone scoring in the third after it was 9-1. Canes goalie Cam Ward closed with 22 saves in picking up his 29th win of the season.
The Hurricanes played without forward Scott Walker, who did not make the trip. Walker, who scored against Calgary, has an "upper-body" injury injury.