The Tampa Bay Lightning
brought in Marc-Andre Bergeron
bolster their offense from the blue line. He did just that on Saturday night.
Bergeron scored 1:32 into overtime to give the Lightning a 4-3 victory against the Carolina Hurricanes -- and erase the sting of blowing a two-goal lead in the final minute of regulation.
"Big goals at big moments ... I'm happy, but not surprised," Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher.
Bergeron's goal, a slap shot from the right circle, came off a pass from Sean Bergenheim. It was his first since joining the Lightning on Feb. 5 from Norfolk of the AHL. He signed with the Lightning on Jan. 4 after coming off knee surgery.
"I had a chance to create an odd-man rush," Bergeron said. "Bergie did a tremendous job along the boards and to get a rush up the ice. He made a good pass, and I just tried to get a shot on net and it went in."
The Lightning looked like they were cruising to an easy win, leading 3-1 as the clock ticked under a minute. But with goalie Cam Ward on the bench for an extra attacker, goals by Jeff Skinner and Eric Cole sent the game into overtime. Skinner scored with 51.1 seconds remaining before Cole tied it when Joni Pitkanen's blast from the left point hit his leg and went past a stunned Dwayne Roloson.
Despite the last-minute heroics, the 'Canes had to settle for a single point.
"It stinks to lose in overtime, but the guys did what they could in the third period to battle back and get an important point," a disappointed Ward said
Vincent Lecavalier scored his fourth goal in three games, and Roloson made 31 saves as Tampa Bay won for the eighth time in 10 games. The Southeast Division leaders also got goals from Steve Downie and Bergenheim as they increased their cushion over second-place Washington to five points.
Ward made 37 saves and Eric Staal also scored for the Hurricanes, who have lost five of six.
The single point gave the Hurricanes 60, the same number as Atlanta -- where the 'Canes visit Sunday. The winner will have sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
"Huge game for us," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "It's four in six (days), so we'll have to go to the well a little bit, but I think the magnitude of the game should help us with our energy."
Downie put the Lightning ahead 1-0 from the low slot 4:26 into the second. Lecavalier made it 2-0 during a power play at 7:41. The Tampa Bay captain had just one goal in 16 games before his current three-game goal streak.
Staal cut the deficit to 2-1 with his 27th of the season, scoring on a power play with 10:52 left in the second.
Bergenheim extended the Lightning advantage to 3-1 at 12:48 of the third with a goal in his 300th NHL game.
Stamkos assisted on Downie's goal for his 74th point (40 goals and 34 assists). He has 5 assists and 6 points during a three-game point streak.
Material from team media and wire services was used in this report