Stamkos recorded his fourth career hat trick and Martin St. Louis added three assists as Tampa Bay extended its home winning streak with a 5-4 overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
“We said we wanted to give our fans something to cheer about,” Stamkos said. “We can’t thank them enough.”
Vincent Lecavalier notched the game-winner for the Bolts, who have now won four straight games at the St. Pete Times Forum.
With 54 seconds left to go in the extra period, St. Louis took the puck down low after a takeaway from Marc-Andre Bergeron in the offensive zone and fed Lecavalier, who finished it off to beat Ray Emery.
Four of Lecavalier’s six goals on the season have each been game-clinching tallies, which lead the NHL.
A fast-paced first period saw a lot of chances from both sides, evidenced by a 15-8 advantage in shots following the first 20 minutes. Both Emery and Dwayne Roloson, however, were equal to the challenge to keep the game scoreless heading into the intermission.
That, however, all changed in the second period.
The teams combined for eight goals, including three by Stamkos and an additional pair by Patrick Sharp. The combined total by the clubs tied the Tampa Bay record for combined goals in a period at home.
Dan Carcillo and Marian Hossa also scored for Chicago. The Blackhawks, playing in their second of back-to-back games, had its three-game win streak snapped and missed a chance to sweep their two-game trip through Florida after beating the Panthers 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday.
The 2010 Rocket Richard co-winner opened the scoring early on just 45 seconds in, collecting a rebound out in front and wristing one past Emery for a 1-0 lead.
Tampa Bay, coming off back-to-back shutouts at home, entered Friday’s contest having allowed just one goal in its past three games at the St. Pete Times Forum, good for a shutout streak of 132:05.
Roloson extended the mark for an extra period, but the scoreless streak finally came to an end after Sharp put home a backdoor feed to tie things up on the power-play just 50 seconds later. The home shutout streak, which ended at 153:10, was the second-longest at home in Tampa Bay franchise history.
After Brett Connolly notched his second goal in as many games, Chicago trailed 2-1 before scoring three unanswered goals in 65 seconds to take a 4-2 lead.
A pair of tallies just 53 seconds apart from Hossa and Carcillo gave the Blackhawks their first lead of the night at 7:10. Sharp’s second of the game then put Chicago out up by two, its largest of the game, just 12 seconds later.
The three goals by Chicago in 65 seconds were the most in that span since Dec. 20, 1989, when it notched three in 59 seconds against the St. Louis Blues.
Even that, however, was not enough to deny the Lightning.
Stamkos made it a one-goal game at 11:45, then drew Tampa Bay even with a power-play blast from the left circle that beat Emery with 32.2 seconds left in the period.
“I thought we did some good things in the first period and we had a great stretch in the second,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “They got back into it with that goal and then a power-play goal to tie it was good for them.”
The franchise record for goals in a game is four, set by Chris Kontos in Tampa Bay's first-ever game, a 7-3 win over Chicago on Oct. 7, 1992.
The three-goal effort was the Lightning forward’s second against the Blackhawks. Stamkos’ first-ever career hat trick also came versus Chicago during his rookie season on Feb. 17, 2009. Since that date, he leads all NHL skaters with 121 goals.
“Our team has character, resilience and we continue to persist,” Boucher said. “We know we have that. We will never quit in any game and we need to remind ourselves of that. We built this attitude from last year and I’m real proud of this team.”
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