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ADVANTAGE IN WIN COLUMN

Strong attack, Malone hat trick bring Lightning its first of the season.

The Lightning on Saturday night made it four games in a row in which it outshot its opponent.

And for a change, it won,5-2 over the Hurricanes at the St. Pete Times Forum.

Ryan Malone had a hat trick, including the winner with 9:14 left to snap a 2-2 tie. That goal came after a perfect swing pass from Marty St. Louis that moved so quickly, Carolina goaltender Cam Ward had no chance to react.

Steve Downie scored to make it 4-2, and Malone's empty-netter capped a three-goal third period for Tampa Bay (1-1-2), which had a 39-26 shot advantage and snapped a 12-game winless streak going back to last season.

St. Louis and defenseman Mattias Ohlund each had two assists. Defenseman Paul Ranger had a goal and an assist, and goaltender Antero Niittymaki made 24 saves in his first start of the season.

Goalie Mike Smith was given the night off after sustaining a sore back in Thursday's loss to the Devils, though coach Rick Tocchet said he would have given Niittymaki the start even if Smith had not been hurt.

The only reason the Lightning was not ahead after the first period was Ward. Tampa Bay held a 17-9 shot advantage, with 10 shots during two power plays. Ward got some help from the post, which stopped Vinny Lecavalier's slap shot from the point with 7:08 remaining. Niittymaki got similar help with 2:04 left, when Chad LaRose cranked a blazer off the stick-side post from the bottom of the faceoff circle.

Niittymaki made a terrific glove save on Matt Cullen, who fired from close in at the side of the net. And he showed good mobility when he saved Tuomo Ruutu's wrist shot from the slot then slid to his left to stop Eric Staal, who slapped his stick on the ice in frustration.

Both teams scored twice in the second period, with Carolina's two power-play goals sandwiched around Tampa Bay goals in 15 seconds by Ranger and Malone.

Carolina went ahead 1-0 with 7:18 left on a wraparound by Staal, who somehow got the puck past Niittymaki on the extreme long side.

Ranger answered with 6:36 remaining when he fired a low snap shot from the point that scooted past Ward, also on the long side. Malone made it 2-1 with 6:21 remaining when he backhanded a rebound past Ward after the goalie stopped Ohlund, who shot from in close after swinging around the net.

Rod Brind'Amour tied the score with 2:37 left when the Carolina captain backhanded the puck high and into a top corner from the slot.

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