Lightning edge Blackhawks in OT, sweep season series

The SportsXchange

TAMPA, Fla. -- Generously listed at 5-foot-8, Tampa Bay Lightning captain Martin St. Louis makes a career out of finding himself in the right place at the right time.

Thursday proved to be no different as St. Louis netted the game-winner when Chicago goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin failed to control a rebound 1:16 into overtime to lift the Lightning to a 6-5 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

With the victory, the Tampa Bay sweep the season series from the defending Stanley Cup champions.

"It's all about finding ways to win in this league," said St. Louis. "Two months from now we'll look back and we got four points from the Blackhawks and that's all that matters."

Tampa Bay got two goals and two assists from Steven Stamkos while Matthew Carle, Nate Thompson and Victor Hedman also added goals. Goaltender Ben Bishop stopped 38 shots in the win.

Chicago (6-1-3) got goals from Bryan Bickell, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews, who was credited with the equalizer in the third when a pass from Carle deflected off of Lightning defenseman Radko Gudas' stick and past Bishop.

Khabibulin recorded 19 saves and suffered his first loss against the team he won a Stanley Cup with in 2004.

"We'll take a point especially the way it evolved there in the third period," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "(It was) a crazy third period, things you've never seen before."

The Blackhawks rallied from a two-goal deficit to take their first lead of the game early in the third period when Shaw deflected a slap shot from Kane past Bishop to make the game 4-3.

Hedman tied things up with 8:07 left in regulation when he ripped a slap shot past Khabibulin from the point.

"I thought we played our best hockey of the night when we were down 4-3," said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper. "Hedman made a great play and then our power play comes up big to get the go-ahead goal. Every time they pushed, we pushed back."

With the Lightning on a power play, they looked to Stamkos to score his team-high seventh goal of the season. Valtteri Filpulla won the face off in the attack zone and slipped a pass back to Stamkos, who slammed another slap shot past Khabibulin to give the Lightning a 5-4 lead with 2:29 left in regulation.

The lead wouldn't last long thanks to some careless play from the Lightning blue line. Carle tried to send a pass to defenseman Radko Gudas back in the zone, but the pass came in too quickly and deflected off of Gudas stick and right past Bishop to tie the game.

"We were fortunate to get that one at the end," added Quenneville. "I didn't like the ending."

After not recording a shot on goal during the first period of their Oct. 5 game, the Lightning actually got on the board in the first period with a Carle goal on a power play. The Blackhawks still managed to outshoot the Lightning 11-4 in the period and 43-25 for the game.

"I don't think we stole tonight's (game)," Cooper added. "Statistically you might look at the shots on goal but I don't think it was a terrible game."

The Blackhawks trailed by two goals for the first time this season, but continued their dominance in the second period by scoring three times. They have outscored opponents 15-6 in the second period this season.

"You can always look for positives, but it's not a game we're happy about," said Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith. "(We gave) up too many goals for one thing and too many changes in momentum for our liking.

"You're always happy to get points in this league, obviously, but it's not the type of game we want to play."

NOTES: This was the last meeting between the teams this season. Tampa Bay posted a 3-2 shootout victory Oct. 5 in Chicago. ... Going into Thursday's game, Tampa Bay was 3-2-0 during its seven-game homestand. ... Tampa Bay has won its last eight games when scoring a short-handed goal. ... Chicago trailed by two goals for the first time this season early in the second period. ... Chicago was shut out in the first period for the third consecutive game despite having 11 shots on goal. ... Hossa's second-period goal was reviewed after Bishop claimed Hossa's stick was above the crossbar, but the goal was upheld.
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