Raleigh, NC -- Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves, and Anthony Cirelli scored the game-winning goal, as the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 on Tuesday night.
The win gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series--with the next two games taking place in Florida.
"It was a pretty good game; we played pretty hard," Carolina head coach Rod Brind'Amour said. "We're playing the best team in the world, and we're going toe-to-toe. That's what it feels like; we're certainly not getting overwhelmed."
The stats back up the Carolina head coach.
The Canes outshot Tampa Bay 32-15 overall in Game Two. They outshot them 24-9 in the final two periods.
"We had lots of good looks," Brind'Amour said. "A couple of empty nets we missed; we just went through the chances quickly."
The first period was a stalemate, despite some good looks by both teams.
Carolina opened the second period on the powerplay but failed to convert.
At 7:09, Tampa got on the board.
Alex Killorn threw a puck on the net, and the puck slipped past Alex Nedeljkovic, who was screened on the play.
Carolina did manage to kill off two Tampa Bay powerplays in the second period. Still, they were dealt a late blow when Vincent Trocheck picked up an injury.
Trocheck collided with teammate Warren Foegele near his own blue line late in the second period.
"It doesn't look good," Brind'Amour said after the game. "I don't know exactly the extent of it at this point, but he obviously couldn't continue, so that's never good. He would play if he could."
Brind'Amour noted that Trocheck would receive a scan and further evaluation on Wednesday. He also stated that Nino Niederreiter would not travel with the team to Tampa.
Carolina got another chance on the powerplay early in the third period, when Pat Maroon took a high sticking penalty, but the Canes once again failed to tie the game.
Anthony Cirelli made them pay when he finished off a breakaway at 8:06 of the third to give Tampa a 2-0 lead.
A late push by the Canes drew them within one when Andrei Svechnikov beat Vasilevskiy with 1:30 left on the clock. But it proved too little, too late.
The Canes now face a steep climb, needing at least one win in Tampa just to extend the series to a Game Five in Raleigh.
"We got to get one [win in Tampa], obviously," Brind'Amour said. "We're not going down there to just win one; we want to try and win every game we play. Yeah, we got to get one first...I think we played damn good, played extremely hard, [and we] were right there."
"We believe in our group," Canes captain Jordan Staal said. "You look at those games; they were tight. We're going to have to go in that building and basically play the same sort of game they played here...We [have] to find a way to get a win."
Getting a win against Tampa Bay will require getting some pucks past Tampa goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.
"We all know he's one of the best goalies in the world," Canes forward Andrei Svechnikov said. "It's hard to score against him. We need to [get to the front of the net more] and shoot more pucks to score."
Jordan Staal and Teuvo Teravainen each had one assist for Carolina.
Steven Stamkos, Erik Cernak, and Victor Hedman each had one assist for Tampa Bay.
Alex Nedeljkovic made 13 saves in the losing effort.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made 31 saves for the Lightning. He now boasts a .971 save percentage in the series.
The series now shifts south to Tampa Bay. Game Three is Thursday night at 8:00pm Eastern.