RALEIGH — The Carolina Hurricanes insisted this one would be different. The Tampa Bay Lightning were back at the RBC Center and the Canes were after retribution.
But for the Canes, it was not to be. The Lightning began a new season just as it ended the later, surging past the Canes 5-1.
Jeff Skinner gave the Canes a 1-0 lead after the first period and had Canes fans roaring. But the Lightning used goals from Martin St. Louis and Vinny Lecavalier -- the second on a 5-on-3 power player — to grab the lead, and third-period goals by Steve Downie, Adam Hall and Ryan Malone finished if off.
"I liked a lot of the five-on-five game," Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "I thought we had a good effort. I liked the way we came out. But penalties kill you against that team. ... We normally don't take those kind of penalties. We're a very disciplined hockey team."
The Bolts whopped the Canes 6-2 in the regular-season finale last year, keeping Carolina out of the playoffs. But the Canes had self-inflicted wounds in Friday's game, including an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty against Jussi Jokinen that led to the 5-on-3 and go-ahead goal.
After rookie defenseman Justin Faulk was called for interference at 17:31 of the second, Jokinen backhanded the puck at an official in disgust and said something to him.
The Bolts quickly converted as Lecavalier scored 19 seconds, whacking a loose puck past Cam Ward. On the 5-on-4, St. Louis was denied a goal when Bryan Allen stopped his shot at an open net.
"It's my fault," Jokinen said. "I have to keep my mouth shut. The referees do their job and I have to do my job."
Eric Staal was called for goaltender interference in the third, leading to Downie's power-play goal. The Canes, in contrast, were 0-5 on the power play.
Rolson had 32 saves while Cam Ward faced 34 shots for the Canes, who play in Washington on Saturday against the Capitals.
Skinner scored at 8:07 of the first period. But St. Louis' goal, his 35th in 63 career games against the Canes, came at 5:19 of the second and tied it 1-1.
Skinner, who had 31 goals last season when he was the NHL's rookie of the year, scored with equal parts anticipation and grit. He first corraled the puck near center ice, carried it into the zone and forced a penalty on Brett Clark as he drove to the net. Skinner got off a shot, the puck was kept alive and he banged it past Dwayne Roloson at 8:07 of the first.
The Canes appeared a bit jittery in the opening minutes and had some turnovers in their end, but quickly built up offensive momentum. Jussi Jokinen nearly made it 2-0 with eight minutes left in the first, just missing on a wraparound.
The Canes had the first penalty of the game, an interference call against Bryan Allen with 3:43 left in the first. But St. Louis was called for goaltender interference 53 seconds later and Skinner just missed on a shot after a centering pass out of the corner from Eric Staal.
The Canes outshot the Lightning 16-12 in the first. Roloson was under pressure much of the period and the Ward also had some tough saves, denying Ryan Malone six and a half minutes into the game with a sprawling stop.