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Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Justin Williams led the way with his first career hat trick and an assist, and Rod Brind'Amour added a goal and two assists, as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, 5-1, at St. Pete Times Forum.

Eight Hurricanes recorded at least one point on the night. Forwards Ray Whitney and Eric Staal each had two assists for the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"I've never had one before (hat trick)," said a jubilant Williams. "I've sometimes been around it, but never actually got it. It feels nice though, and it feels nice when the guys recognize that in the room and give you a pat on the back. It's also nice to get off the goose egg for me, too."

Hurricane netminder Cam Ward stopped 34 shots for his third win of the season. His counterpart, Marc Denis, was pulled after two periods, giving up four goals on 19 shots. Denis' replacement, Johan Holmqvist stopped only three of four shots in the third period.

The Hurricanes have won three straight after opening the season with four losses in a row, while the Lightning have dropped four of five.

Tampa Bay outshot Carolina 35-23, but could not find an answer for Ward until Nikita Alexeev scored on a rebound with 2:13 left in regulation. Dmitry Afanasenkov and Luke Richardson picked up assists on the tally.

Carolina's captain kicked off the scoring. With almost 4 1/2 minutes played, Erik Cole shot a puck wide of the net. The carom found its way onto Brind'Amour's stick and he took a shot from an odd angle, but the puck deflected off Denis and over the goal line.

In the second, the Hurricanes blew through the Lightning with gale force winds with three goals. Williams' wrister, his first of the season came at 3:11, and gave Carolina a 2-0 lead. Midway through the period, Eric Belanger scored his second of the season, tipping in a pass from just outside the crease for a power-play goal.

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