NHL: Tampa Bay 5, Carolina 2

Dec. 31, 2011 at 8:01 PM

TAMPA, Fla., Dec. 31 (UPI) -- NHL goals leader Steven Stamkos scored three times Saturday, powering the Tampa Bay Lightning's 5-2 victory over Carolina.

Stamkos, who came into the contest with a league-best 23 goals, scored in each of the three periods for his second hat trick of the season.

Steve Downie contributed a goal and two assists, while Ryan Malone and Martin St. Louis each had three assists for the Lightning, who collected their fifth win in seven games.

The Bolts also benefited from a 24-save performance by Mathieu Garon.

The Hurricanes got goals from Jay Harrison and Justin Faulk. Cam Ward yielded all five Tampa Bay goals on 32 shots.

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