Saturday, November 14, 2009

Late goal leads to shootout win

A Ryan Malone goal with 14.7 seconds left in regulation and shootout goals from Vinny Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos helped stretch the Lightnings' unbeaten streak to 4 games Thursday night, as Tampa Bay edged the Minnesota Wild 4-3, in front of 14,530 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida.

The Wild built a 2-0 lead on a first period goal at 16:53 by Benoit Pouliot and a power play goal at 3:47 of the second by Kim Johnsson. Tampa Bay got one back at 8:44 on a Steven Stamkos shorthanded goal, but Minnesota responded, getting a goal from Owen Nolan at 11:35, to lead 3-1 after two.

In the third, the Lightning began their comeback at 9:17 as Steve Downie banged home his second goal of the season. Then, late in regulation and with an extra attacker, Malone's power play goal tied the game 3-3 with 14.7 seconds remaining. The Wild outshot Tampa Bay 4-0 in the overtime, but were unable to score, sending the game to the deciding shootout.

Minnesota's Mikko Koivu was stopped in round one and Martin Havlat was denied in round two. The Lightning got goals from Lecavalier in round one, and Stamkos in round two. The scores were the first shootout counters for Tampa Bay this season and netted them the extra standings point, with the 4-3 win.

Antero Niittymaki had another solid game in goal for the Lightning, making 31 saves. Niklas Backstrom had 18 saves for the Wild. Both teams were 1-for-4 on the power play.

Tampa Bay improves to 7-4-5 for 19 points, tied for second with Atlanta in the Southeast, 9 points behind first place Washington. Minnesota is now 7-11-1 for 15 points, fifth in the Northwest, 12 points behind division-leading Colorado.

The short two-game homestand concludes Saturday night, when the Lightning host the Los Angeles Kings. Faceoff is set for 7:30p.m. EST, with the game available at 620 WDAE radio and Sun Sports TV.

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