It was a deep hole the Lightning dug itself in Anaheim Thursday night.
Yet on goals from Jeff Halpern, Marty St. Louis, and Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay managed to rally from a three-goal deficit to carry the game into the extended stanza, hijacking yet another invaluable point along the way.
The meeting was a physical one what with the Ducks coming off a cringe-worthy 0-3-1-road swing. Anaheim took to the board early and often with a pair of markers in the first that no doubt had everyone on the Bolt bench experiencing a bit of déjà vu.
Working a little tic-tac-toe action deep in the Lightning zone, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry manhandled the puck nicely to set-up Teemu Selanne for the game’s opening goal at 6:25.
Like a scene out of Groundhog Day, the same trio would connect again while on the man advantage to beat Mike Smith on his weak side just inside the 20-minute mark. In a role reversal of sorts, it was Selanne and Perry this time combining to needle a pass through the blue paint with Getzlaf receiving credit for the tally.
The agony continued into the second for the Bolts when, not long after taking the ice, David Hale was slapped with a double-minor for high-sticking and watched from the box as Bobby Ryan potted his ninth on the season to give the Ducks a 3-0 lead.
Less than a minute later and Tampa Bay was right back in it however, engaged in not one, but two goal celebrations of its own.
With some tenacious battling behind Anaheim’s net, Steve Downie dug one out and lobbed a centering pass to Halpern for a goal conversion that effectively extinguished Jonas Hiller’s shutout aspirations.
And before 18 seconds had elapsed Stamkos could be seen crashing the crease to scoop up a Vinny Lecavalier-fed puck for what was certainly one of the power forward’s most acrobatic goals to date and a marker deserving of points for both style and substance.
Careening towards the net with legs splayed, Stamkos managed to not only pot the saucer but also shift the momentum of the game in Tampa Bay’s favor all while cutting Anaheim’s lead to one.
Building off the energy of the middle frame, Ryan Malone tied things up 1:38 into the third with what would be the Lightning's only power play goal of the match-up. Downie started the transaction with a pass to St. Louis who ripped a screamer from the blueline and found the stick of a crease-loving Malone for the tip-in. The goal was his thirteenth on the season and enough to carry the tilt into extra innings despite a scoring error that originally had St. Louis credited with the tally.
Though Tampa Bay succumbed to the Ducks early in the sudden death showdown on a power play goal netted by Scott Niedermayer, the team was able to extend its point streak to seven games in a great come-from-behind effort.
"Down 3-0 on the road and you get a point, that's pretty good," St. Louis said.
So good in fact that the Eastern Conference’s seventh-ranked team will head into Carolina on Saturday having lost just one of their last 12 in regulation.
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