After the Tampa Bay Lightning blew a two-goal lead to the Washington Capitals, it eventually saw the game go into to overtime, looking as if the team's four-game winning streak could be threatened. That however, did not happen.
Thanks to the league's leading scorer.
Steven Stamkos made sure his team was going to extend its win streak to five when he scored 2:01 into overtime.
"It was nice to get rewarded in a big situation like that, " Stamkos said. "I just kinda kept telling myself to keep plugging away and there are only so many chances you have before it goes in so it's nice to get the winner obviously in a game like this."
Washington opened scoring at 16:55 of the first period when Matt Hendricks fanned on a shot, then backhanded the puck behind a surprised Mathieu Garon who was caught out of the crease.The Lightning answered Hendricks' goal minutes later when Teddy Purcell caught Steve Downie's pass through traffic, beating Thomas Vokoun at 18:50. Purcell's goal now gives him points in 11 of his last 18 games. He has eight goals and five assists in that span.
With a tie game, the Lightning began to improve its open ice passing and began to generate more offense early in the second period. Tampa Bay got a lucky break when Capital's defensemen Roman Hamrlik fell and Martin St. Louis skated away to score a breakaway goal 1:05 into the second period, giving the Lightning a 2-1 lead.
Tampa Bay's penalty kill unit preserved the 2-1 lead after it killed a second penalty when Downie was called for a double minor high stick. Then, Nate Thompson extended the Lightning's lead to 3-1 when he scored from the slot at 10:59. Dominic Moore and J.T. Wyman added the assists.
Then, Washington came back.
Thompson scored another goal but on the wrong net, watching the puck go past his own goalie. Marc Perrault got credit for the unassisted goal at 13:07 of the second period.
And, even though the Lightning's forecheck continued to stifle Washington, the Capitals continued to push and eventually tied the game when Matt Gilroy gave the puck away to Troy Brouwer. Brouwer beat Garon with 5:03 left in the third period.
The Lightning did not back down. It pressured, it continued to forecheck. It did not quit.
Anyone can see it. This Lightning team has been playing differently and it did in this game. When they are down, they are not out and Tampa Bay Coach Guy Boucher had everything to do with that tonight.
"I kept saying on the bench, 'be in the moment, be in the moment; it's not what just happened, it's what we're gonna do next. We pushed, we didn't hold back. We weren't scared to lose; we were hungry to win," Boucher said.
"It was good we didn't panic after they tied it up, we stuck to the structure," he said.