The Tampa Bay Lightning earned a victory in a game they had to win and sent a message to the rest of the league in the process.
That they aren't going away quietly.
Ryan Malone sent a shot that beat Henrik Lundqvist at 1:58 of overtime after Tampa Bay scored twice in the third period to rally back from a one-goal deficit and defeat the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers 4-3 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Friday night.
"I think everyone in this locker room likes to prove people wrong," Malone said. "Everyone stepped in and played a great game. I thought we did a good job, and that's all we wanted."
Frustrated by Lundqvist for nearly 44 minutes, the Lightning mounted an exciting comeback to win their third straight game and move to within just four points of division-rival Winnipeg for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
"You're always peeking at the standings," Malone added. "But it's out of our control. We dug ourselves a hole early on this season and we can only get ourselves out by winning games."
Tom Pyatt scored, Teddy Purcell had a goal and added two assists, and Steven Stamkos also lit the lamp for the Lightning, which got 16 saves from Mathieu Garon.
Down 2-1 heading into the final period, Purcell drew Tampa Bay even just 3:37 into the third when he took a centering feed from Martin St. Louis at the side of the net and wristed one past Lundqvist for his 18th of the season.
Purcell, whose goal marked a new career-high, now has points in eight consecutive games.
Stamkos then notched his league-best 45th goal of the season to snap a 2-2 tie approximately seven minutes later, scoring from the slot on a shot that snuck underneath the crossbar after being deflected by a Rangers player in front.
"It was an unbelievable play by Brian Lee," Stamkos said. "He had it set up the whole way, found me in a hole and put it on my stick. That was obviously a big goal for us and I was happy to see it go in."
Brandon Dubinsky scored for the Rangers and evened things up 3-3 with 3:27 to go in regulation to send the contest into overtime.
"It's always good to get a point," Dubinsky said. "But you can see that they're a dangerous team, and when you give them opportunities, they're going to find a way to put the puck in the net."
The loss snapped New York's three game-win streak, while it marked just the first time since Jan. 15 in which Lundqvist allowed four or more goals. He finished with 27 saves on the night.
Artem Anisimov and Marian Gaborik had the other New York goals, as the Rangers dropped to 29-1-3 when scoring the game's first goal.
Anisimov opened the scoring with a wrist shot from the left hash marks that beat Garon to the far post to give the Rangers a quick 1-0 lead at 10:09.
New York doubled its lead while on the power play when Gaborik one-timed a slap shot from the point at 2:43 of the middle frame, but Pyatt cut the deficit in half less than five minutes later with his career-high seventh of the season.
The Lightning, winners of five in a row at home, have beaten Lundqvist in six of their last seven meetings.
"Some guys simply had to be better for our team in order to succeed," Lightning head coach Guy Boucher said. "And a lot of our guys did that."