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Lightning rally to beat Penguins 5-3

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Dan Ellis turned into Tampa Bay's relief ace.

The Pittsburgh Penguins raced out to a 3-1 lead in the first 12:15 on Wednesday night, sending Mike Smith to the bench. In came Ellis, who stopped everything the Penguins threw at him -- allowing his team a chance to get back into the game.

Goals by Teddy Purcell and Vincent Lecavalier got the Bolts even entering the third period, Martin St. Louis put them ahead with 13:20 to play and St. Louis hit the empty net to wrap up the Lightning's 5-3 victory on Wednesday night.

Ellis stopped all 24 shots he faced.

"You throw him in there and he gives you a chance to get back in it," St. Louis said. "That's great."

St. Louis broke the tie when he blew past rookie defenseman and beat Marc-Andre Fleury over the glove. He scored into the empty net with 30.8 seconds remaining to complete the comeback.

"I think our team really turned it around," Ellis said.

It's the kind of game the Lightning might not have won in the past couple of years; they've missed the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. But under new coach Guy Boucher, this group is 6-2-1 and leads the Eastern Conference with 13 points.

"We came back and made it happen," Boucher said. "It's a tribute to the kind of people we have on this team. The guys care about each other and want to play for each other.

"We believe when no one does. That's our motto."

After Tampa Bay's Dana Tyrell opened the scoring 2:51 into the game, the Penguins stunned the crowd of 17,226 at the St. Pete Times Forum with shorthanded goals by Craig Adams and Matt Cooke 61 seconds apart. Adams, who assisted on Pittsburgh's other two first-period goals, stopped a personal 118-game goal drought dating to Dec. 16, 2008.

Pascal Dupuis' goal at 12:15 made it 3-1, ending Smith's night -- and, as it turned out, Pittsburgh's scoring as well.

"There's not much to say ... we got beat," said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, who was limited to one assist. "Gave up too many opportunities and didn't execute on the ones we got. We didn't deserve that one, definitely."

Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos, who shared the NHL goal-scoring title (51) last season with Crosby, had three assists.

Purcell got Tampa Bay to 3-2 at 16:40 of the first period, and Lecavalier tied it during a 5-on-3 power play at 8:43 of the second. Fleury preserved the tie later in the period by stopping Sean Bergenheim on a penalty shot, and got a break when Nate Thompson drilled the crossbar on a shorthanded breakaway.

"We didn't like our focus and staying on the plan," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said.

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report

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