The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 on New Year’s Eve in Tampa, FL. The Lightning have won three in a row and five of seven after the win at the St. Pete Times Forum. Steven Stamkos had another big night as he had his second hat trick this season and fifth overall to help Tampa Bay with the win. Stamkos scored his third goal of the game and 26th of the season on a power play just 43 seconds into the third period. Teddy Purcell scored on a goal 22 seconds later to increase the Lightning lead to 4-2.

The Bolts played very well during a home stand heir home after a 3 game road trip. Tampa Bay began a road trip against the Blue Jackets on Saturday, December 17 and traveled to San Jose, CA for a game against the Sharks on Wednesday, December 21. San Jose jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the first period and the Bolts could not recover as they lost 7-2 last Wednesday night. Tampa Bay finished out their road trip against Colorado on Friday, December 23 losing in Overtime.

The Bolts had a magical season last year that was cut short by a thrilling Game 7 loss against the Boston Bruins. There was optimism that this year would be just as special and maybe even a championship run would be in store for the Lightning. The 2011-2012 Season has not lived up to the hype but there is reason for optimism after Saturday’s game. They are currently in fourth place with the Florida Panthers leading the way in the Southeast Division.

Tampa Bay needed a win in their game against the Hurricanes on New Year’s Eve and delivered in a big way. The Lightning now start a road trip on Tuesday, January 3 in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. The game begins at 7:00 Eastern and is a chance for Tampa Bay to distance themselves from last place Carolina. The NHL season is a marathon but this is the perfect time for the Lightning to start making their move toward another playoff run.