Tampa Bay Lightning rally, defeat Chicago Blackhawks in OT

By Greg Auman, The Sports Xchange  |  March 28, 2017 at 6:36 AM
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TAMPA, Fla. -- Yanni Gourde's second NHL goal was a huge one, as the 25-year-old rookie stole the puck and scored a breakaway game-winner with 35 seconds left in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning rallied for a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night at Amalie Arena.

"It's a pretty amazing feeling," said Gourde, who had fresh legs before Chicago could change lines, pulling away and beating goalie Scott Darling to complete a wild comeback. "We really believe we can be in a playoff spot, and that's what we've been showing lately. We want to be there and we work hard."

The Lightning (37-29-9) picked up two much-needed points in the standings, moving ahead of the New York Islanders in the wild-card chase and pulling within a single point of the idle Boston Bruins for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

"I don't know that we've ever had our backs against the wall for this long a period and had to grind our way through," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "Something new every day. A left hook here, an uppercut here, but the guys won't go down."

Chicago (48-21-7) bounced back from a 7-0 loss at Florida on Saturday but saw a 4-1 lead slip away in the second period.

Andrei Vasilevskiy needed only one save in the final 15 minutes of the game to help the Lightning rally.

Chicago outshot Tampa Bay 10-1 in the first half of the third period, but Vasilevskiy -- who left the game for the final 6:19 of the first period after giving up three early goals -- made several stellar saves to preserve the 4-4 tie. From there, the Blackhawks didn't have a single shot on goal in the final 10 minutes as both teams took the point as play went to overtime. Darling had 25 saves for Chicago, while Vasilevskiy made 25 saves, 10 in the third period.

"They came hard there for a bit and got some fortunate bounces," Darling said. "That's what happens when you throw everything at the net and have a net-front presence, so credit them."

The Lightning got help in other results, as the Islanders lost 3-1 to Nashville and surging Carolina lost 4-3 in overtime to Detroit. Tampa Bay also is just two points back of Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division.

The Lightning, down 4-1 midway through the second period and on their second goalie, rallied for three goals in five minutes -- two from Jonathan Drouin -- to tie the game and take momentum into the final period.

The rally started when Drouin redirected an Alex Killorn shot in front of the net for his 19th goal of the season, cutting the lead to 4-2 with 8:15 left in the period.

Just 62 seconds later, Greg McKegg wrapped around the goal and fed a pass to defenseman Anton Stralman, who scored his fourth goal of the season to cut the lead to 4-3.

A delay penalty against Chicago gave the Lightning a power play with 4:37 left in the second, and halfway through that advantage, Drouin fired a long shot past Darling to tie the game with 3:36 remaining.

Tampa Bay finished with 14 shots in the period, including a late flurry that Darling held off to carry the tie to the third.

Chicago jumped out to an early lead. Artemi Panarin fired a shot that Vasilevskiy stopped, but it dribbled past him and into the net for Panarin's 25th goal of the season and a 1-0 lead just 1:23 into the game.

The Lightning would answer, getting a power-play goal from Ondrej Palat (his 16th) on a redirect from a long shot by defenseman Victor Hedman, who picked up his 48th assist.

Chicago wasn't done. Patrick Kane got his 34th goal for a 2-1 lead with 9:43 left in the period, then Tomas Jurco got his first goal of the season, firing a rebound off his own miss for a 3-1 lead with 6:19 remaining.

Vasilevskiy was pulled after allowing three goals on eight shots, with Peter Budaj replacing him in net. Budaj stopped all three shots he faced before Vasilevskiy returned at the start of the second.

Richard Panik put in his own rebound for a 4-1 Blackhawks lead with 11:13 left in the second, setting up the Lightning comeback.

"It's tough. We had such a good first period, a good start to the second, and they turned it on for the last 10 minutes of the second," Darling said. "It was pretty impressive. We played good in the third and I've got to come up with a save there in OT."

Monday was a Lightning home game, but the arena was loaded with red jerseys for Chicago's lone trip to Tampa this season.

NOTES:

-- The Lightning, continuing to wait with hope for a return by Steven Stamkos, played again without three other regulars. D Jason Garrison missed a second straight game with a lower-body injury and C Tyler Johnson and C Cedric Paquette each missed their ninth straight with their own lower-body injuries.

-- Chicago RW Ryan Hartman, who earned a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in Saturday's 7-0 loss at Florida, found himself a healthy scratch in Monday's game, the first game he's missed in more than four months. D Michal Rozsival missed his ninth straight game and C Artem Anisimov his seventh straight, while D Michal Kempny was a healthy scratch for the eighth time in nine games.

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