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First post of the year, so I would like to say THANK YOU to all the people that visit LHB. Thank you to for all your comments, tweets and emails about all things Lightning. As someone who lives diagonally across the continent from Tampa, it's because of you that I keep talking Lightning.

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So hat-trick city last night? And awful reffing calls?

Stamkos wants that goal scoring title, and notched 3 goals tonight to bring his NHL lead to 26. What a man. Now if only he could get a haircut. Did his contract with Garnier run out? Or is that the reason he's growing out his hair?

Recap after the jump...

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Stamkos gets a 2-on-1 with St. Louis and gets started his campaign early at 3:22 of the game with his first wrist shot past Cam Ward.

The refs give Purcell a hooking call after he drops his stick. WTF refs.

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Justin Faulk ties it up on the PP and the period ends in a 1-1 tie. Bolts lead this period in shots at 13-7.

In the intermission, Steve Yzerman confirms that Hedman is in fact out with a concussion. He also announces that Shannon and Thompson are on the IR retroactively.

In the early parts of the 2nd period, St. Louis takes a holding penalty and the Hurricanes take the lead with their second PP goal of the night. Too bad because the Lightning are outplaying the Hurricanes.

Stamkos ties up the game with a snap shot for his second of the night at 8:17.

In the third period, the Lightning are on a PP for a late penalty in the 2nd from Chad LaRose. 43 seconds into the period, Stamkos fires a slapshot past Ward for his 3rd of the night.

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A few hats are thrown on the ice.

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Also hand another assist to St. Louis which gives him his 500th of his career.

A few seconds later Malone gets a nice pass to Teddy Purcell who finally decides to quite being Mr. Invisible and he cuts through three Carolina players to score his 7th of the season.

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Purcell is not very good looking. Kinda vermin-like

Carolina has no idea how this is all happening. The Lightning are up 4-2 and its 1:05 into the third.

Steve Downie had a strong game so far with two assists so far on the Stamkos goals and at 6:51 gets a goal to put the Lightning up 5-2.

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Downie looks like a lost child but at least Kubina is all over this hockey hug

The action doesn't stop there. About a minute later Dominic Moore jams the front of the net to get a puck past Ward. There's some punches by Ward on Moore and Vinny gets involved. Even though the replays show the puck going in before the goalie interference occurs, the goal is waived off. Moore, Lecavalier and Ward both get roughing penalties so the Hurricanes have a 2 minute powerplay.

About 30 seconds into their PP, Stamkos takes a hooking call that gives Carolina a 5 on 3. But the Lightning are able to handle it and the Lightning end the game with a 5-2 win.

A Stamkos hat trick? Winning a three game homestand? 500th career assist to St. Louis?

Great way to end off the year boys.