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game recap

Lightning 4, Penguins 3, OT

Tuesday, 06.19.2012 / 2:19 AM

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Despite dominating the game, the Tampa Bay Lightning needed an overtime goal from Vincent LeCavalier to secure a victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

After seeing a 2-0 lead evaporate with Nils Ekman's natural hat trick, LeCavalier's goal 2:41 into overtime gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 win Wednesday night.

"We played a great game, we were skating, we were pretty patient, and our power play scored again, so that's another positive," LeCavalier said. "You're up, 2-0, now they're up, 3-2, but we never stopped, we played well the whole game and came back."

Ekman had a natural hat trick, scoring three straight goals in a span of 4:10 late in the second period for Pittsburgh. The Penguins have gained at least a point in seven of their last eight games.

Dimitry Afanasenkov, Brad Richards and Eric Perrin also scored for Tampa Bay, which completed a 3-0-1 roadtrip.

"It was good to come back in the third period. We haven't done that often this year," said Lightning coach John Tortorella, whose team won for the second time in six games when trailing after two periods. "We collected ourselves. We've done that a couple times this year and those are some steps in the right direction."

LeCavalier's winner came on a breakaway against Marc-Andre Fleury after Martin St. Louis found him with a long pass from the Tampa Bay end to near the Pittsburgh blue line. It was the second assist of the game for St. Louis, who has a 10-game point streak.

"We got a big block from our D, and... I took a peak at what Vinny was doing, and Vinny took off," St. Louis said. "I didn't have to look at him; I just kinda looked for where I thought he would be, and I found him. (The puck) was bouncing, but he was able to handle it, make a good move and score a big goal."

Sidney Crosby and Sergei Gonchar each had two assists for the Penguins, who have lost five in a row at Mellon Arena to the Lightning.

Ekman's goals came at 15:37, 18:19 and 19:47 of the second period against Tampa Bay goalie Johan Holmqvist.

The four minutes, 10 seconds between goals represented the shortest period of time for one player to score three goals in Penguins' history. The previous record was held by Lowell MacDonald, who had three in 4:17 of a 5-2 win against Minnesota on Nov. 13, 1973.

"I think I was just in the right place at the right time," said Ekman, who was promoted to a spot on the top line alongside Crosby early in the contest. "It's not like I did that much, I was just in front of the net and some guys on our team made great plays (to get me the puck) and I was standing there tipping them in."

Afanasenkov scored the game's first goal with 6:02 to play in the opening period when he deflected in a shot from the point by Nikita Alexeev from the right circle.

Richards made it 2-0 Tampa Bay with a power-play goal, his fourth, midway through the second period. While standing in the right-wing corner, Richards attempted a centering pass to Alexeev that was blocked by the Penguins but bounced right back to Richards near the goal mouth. He slammed it past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Five and a half minutes later, Ekman's first goal made it a 2-1 game when he scored from the slot on a pass from Crosby, who had received the puck in the low right-wing circle during a delayed penalty from Gonchar.

Ekman's second came 2:42 later when he deflected in a Ryan Whitney shot from the point while standing to the right of Holmqvist while on the power play.

With 13 seconds to play in the period, Ekman finished a three-on-two when he redirected in a fine pass from Crosby.

It was the first career hat trick for Ekman, who entered the game with two goals on the season.

Perrin tied the game at 3 less than five minutes into the third period when he finished a pass while at the right of Fleury from Ryan Craig, who was behind the net.

"They scored that third one, which put us on our heels a little bit," St. Louis said. "But you know what? It was our fourth road game, and (all we had to do was) win a period to set yourself up for overtime. And that's what we did."

Notes: Tampa Bay had scored five goals in each of their previous three contests. ... St. Louis has 10 goals and seven assists during his points streak. ... Before Ekman's goals, the Lightning had outscored opponents 26-9 in the second period of games this season. ... Tampa Bay, which entered the game the third-least penalized team in the league, killed three of four Pittsburgh power plays. The Lightning entered the game with a road penalty-killing percentage that ranked tied for 28th in the league.

scoring summary
1st Period
13:58
TBL
Dimitri Afanasenkov (3) Tip-in - ASST: Nikita Alexeev (7)
1 - 0 TBL
2nd Period
10:12
TBL
PPG - Brad Richards (4) Wrist shot - ASST: Martin St. Louis (7), Filip Kuba (7)
2 - 0 TBL
15:37
PIT
Nisse Ekman (3) Wrist shot - ASST: Sidney Crosby (14), Sergei Gonchar (8)
2 - 1 TBL
18:19
PIT
PPG - Nisse Ekman (4) Tip-in - ASST: Ryan Whitney (9), Sergei Gonchar (9)
2 - 2 Tie
19:47
PIT
Nisse Ekman (5) Tip-in - ASST: Sidney Crosby (15), Colby Armstrong (5)
3 - 2 PIT
3rd Period
04:47
TBL
Eric Perrin (3) Snap shot - ASST: Ryan Craig (2), Andreas Karlsson (3)
3 - 3 Tie
OT Period
02:41
TBL
Vincent Lecavalier (9) Backhand shot - ASST: Martin St. Louis (8), Paul Ranger (8)
4 - 3 TBL
penalty summary
1st Period
07:43
PIT
Sidney Crosby  Hooking against  Martin St. Louis
10:48
TBL
Nolan Pratt  Holding against  Colby Armstrong
18:11
PIT
Colby Armstrong  Hooking against  Ruslan Fedotenko
2nd Period
03:01
PIT
Chris Thorburn  Holding against  Brad Richards
09:46
PIT
Dominic Moore  Hooking against  Dimitri Afanasenkov
15:37
TBL
Doug Janik  Hi-sticking against  Mark Recchi
17:38
TBL
Nolan Pratt  Holding against  Evgeni Malkin
3rd Period
01:49
PIT
John Leclair  Holding against  Filip Kuba
12:43
TBL
Ruslan Fedotenko  Hi-sticking against  Marc-Andre Fleury
OT Period
NONE
goalie stats
Johan Holmqvist
Johan Holmqvist
SA: 20TOI: 62:41
Saves: 17EV: 15 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 3
SV%: .850SH: 0 - 0
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 31TOI: 62:28
Saves: 27EV: 16 - 19
PIM: 0PP: 9 - 10
SV%: .871SH: 2 - 2