TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning won't get any style points for their 6-5 overtime victory against the Chicago Blackhawks. That's OK with them; the two points they got in the standings after winning one of the season's more unusual games were more than enough.
Tampa grabbed a 5-4 lead with 2:39 remaining when Steven Stamkos scored his second goal of the game on a blast from the high slot. But 40 seconds later, Carle, who opened the scoring in the first period, sent a back pass from the neutral zone toward Gudas, his defense partner, in the Lightning zone. However, the puck hit off Gudas' skate and slid past a startled Ben Bishop for the tying goal.
Jonathan Toews, who was the last Blackhawk to touch the puck, received credit for the own goal.
"I honestly can't recall a goal as strange as that that I can sit here and say I was behind the bench for," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I don't even know if the 18,000 people here knew how that went in."
The fans weren't the only ones baffled.
"I didn't really know what happened," Stamkos said. "I was coming off the ice and I heard the place erupt and I heard their fans cheering. I looked and saw the puck in our net and Bishop looking puzzled."
But the Lightning overcame the fluke goal when Gudas took a pass from the right half-wall from St. Louis and teed up a slap shot that Nikolai Khabibulin stopped. Stamkos nudged the rebound away from the goaltender, and St. Louis swept across the front of the crease before burying his fifth goal of the season.
The Blackhawks outshot Tampa Bay 43-25, but the victory gave the Lightning a sweep of the two-game season series. The Lightning are 3-0-0 in games decided after regulation this season, with two of those wins coming against the Blackhawks.
"It wasn't pretty all the way through but they're a good team and they make you look bad sometimes," St. Louis said. "But it's about finding ways to win in this League. Two months from now we'll look back and we got four points from the Blackhawks and that's all that matters."
The teams were tied 3-3 after 40 minutes before Andrew Shaw gave Chicago its first lead of the night 1:33 into the third period when he tipped Patrick Kane's shot past Bishop. It was Chicago's first third-period goal since opening night against the Washington Capitals.
Victor Hedman tied the game for the third time when he slipped a soft shot through Khabibulin's five-hole from a bad angle off a pass from St. Louis at 11:03.
"It [boosted my] confidence in myself and we rebounded hard," Hedman said of his first goal in 41 games. "In the third period I got my wheels going and created some plays, so it was a good way to rebound with two points and a big win."
Carle gave the Lightning a 1-0 lead after one period with a power-play goal 6:28 into the game before the offenses opened up in the second period.
But the Blackhawks (6-1-3), who had carried the play for most of the game, finally beat Bishop at 9:00 when a shot from the point by Brent Seabrook ended up at the feet of Bryan Bickell, who popped it into the net for his third goal in as many games. Marian Hossa tied it 1:36 later when he redirected Patrick Sharp's shot past Bishop for his fourth goal of the season.
"You can always look for positives," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said, "but it's not a game that we're happy about giving up that many goals for one thing and too many changes in momentum for our liking."
Stamkos put the Lightning back in front at 17:21 when he took an outlet pass from Hedman, raced through the slot, skated right and sent a shot back to his left and past Khabibulin. That lead held up for all of 1:32 before Eric Brewer's turnover allowed Kane to race in alone and beat Bishop on a breakaway for his fifth goal of the season.
"We'll take the point especially the way it evolved in the third period, a crazy third period, things you've never seen before," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We were victimized by what we did a couple of times but we were fortunate to get that one at the end as well. I didn't like the ending."
Tampa Bay (6-3-0) has one more game to go on its seven-game homestand, the longest of the season. The Lightning are 4-2-0 going into a game against the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night.
Cooper said he got a good indication of his team's resilience.
"We get the lead back," he said, "and then to watch the goal go in to tie in and then to push to overtime and get the winner; there were just mountains of setbacks in the game where they could have folded but didn't."
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