Hurricane Erik Cole crashes into Tampa Bay goalie Mike Smith during the second period. Cole was called for goaltender interference on the play and the Lightning scored the go-ahead goal on the subsequent power play. CHRIS SEWARD - email@example.com
RALEIGH — The Tampa Bay Lightning handed the Carolina Hurricanes what may be a damaging loss Saturday, winning 4-2 at the RBC Center.
With the Buffalo Sabres beating the New Jersey Devils 2-0, the Canes fell five points behind the eighth-place Sabres in the NHL East. The Lightning, beaten 4-3 Friday by the Canes in Tampa, snapped a four-game losing streak behind goaltender Mike Smith.
"Now we're going to need help," Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "We're going to have to come pretty close to running the table here and we're going to have to get some help."
Dominic Moore's power-play goal late in the second period gave the Bolts a 3-2 lead. Moore knocked in the rebound of a Vincent Lecavalier shot. Simon Gagne's second goal of the game -- and fourth in two games -- was an empty netter in the final minute that sealed it and ended the Canes' three-game win streak.
The power play came after the Canes' Erik Cole was called for goaltender interference. Cole and the Canes disputed the penalty, saying Cole was grabbed by defenseman Pavel Kubina and then shoved into Smith by Victor Hedman.
"I didn't think it was a good call at all," Maurice said.
Neither did Cole.
"You've got one guy with his arm around you and the other guy comes and bumps you," Cole said. "I didn't have anywhere to go. I tried to slow down. It is what it is. It's the difference in the game."
Smith. who had 33 saves, was making just his third start since mid-December. Smith was out 15 games this season with a knee injury as Dwayne Roloson took over as the No. 1 netminder. Roloson was the starter Friday in the first of the home-and-home set.
The Bolts played with added urgency Saturday -- the kind they showed Friday only in the final minutes, after falling behind 4-1.
"We're fighting for our lives, too," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. "We haven't felt like that. We haven't felt like we were fighting for our lives and everybody else is, so it's about time we wake up. The reality is we didn't work (Friday) night. We decided today we were going to work."
Eric Staal and Cole scored for the Canes and it was 2-2 after the first period.
Cole's goal came with 50.1 seconds left to tie the score. Cole muscled inside Moore, took a pass from Cory Stillman and beat Smith for his third goal in two nights.
Stillman also had the primary assist on Staal's power-play goal in the first -- Staal's 31st goal of the season and second in two games against the Bolts.
Marty St. Louis and Gagne scored for the Lighting in the first. St. Louis beat Cam Ward on a two-on-one with Vinny Lecavalier after Lecavalier forced a turnover by Tim Gleason seconds after the Bolts killed off a penalty.
Gagne's third goal in two games came with 2:24 left in the period. Poking the puck away from Joe Corvo inside the Carolina blue line, Gagne skated in and beat Ward with a backhander.
The Canes, after scoring twice on the power play Friday, picked up another on their first power play tonight.
After Steve Downie was called for hooking Bryan Allen, the Canes moved the puck well. Cory Stillman, between the circle, passed to Staal in the right circle and Staal ripped a shot past Smith at 7:07 of the first.