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Lightning top Hurricanes in OT

by Lonnie Herman

TAMPA -- The Tampa Bay Lightning just kept shooting until they won.

Radko Gudas scoring 2:16 into overtime on the Lightning's 50th shot of the game, giving Tampa Bay a 3-2 win against the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Gudas broke into the Carolina end on a 2-on-1 with Nate Thompson. He glided in until he reached the faceoff circle to the right of Carolina netminder Justin Peters, then to the short side and beat Peters for his second goal of the season.

"He was cheating a little bit for the pass and I wasn't 100 percent sure I could make a pass, so I shot," Gudas said.

For the second time this week, the Lightning won a game in which they trailed after two periods.

Carolina led 2-1 before Martin St. Louis tipped Victor Hedman's shot past Peters at 7:56 of the third period during Tampa Bay's fifth power play of the game for his 15th goal of the season.

Ben Bishop made 25 saves for his 17th victory of the season.

Carolina (14-14-8) took a 2-1 lead at 10:11 of the second period when Jiri Tlusty scored his second goal of the game. The Hurricanes were killing a penalty when Tlusty collected a pass from Eric Staal and broke in alone before beating Bishop with a 20-foot wrister. Both goals by Tlusty came on Carolina's first shot of the period.

Peters was the star of the middle period, stopping all 13 shots he faced. He robbed Teddy Purcell twice, and Sami Salo and Valtteri Filppula once each with highlight-reel saves. His strong play earned praise from both coaches.

"I have to tip my hat to that kid," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said of Peters. "He was outstanding tonight. Sometimes the goaltender is the best player on the ice and he was tonight. Fortunately for us, we got that extra one by him."

There was no question that Carolina coach Kirk Muller thought Peters was the reason the Hurricanes were able to leave Tampa with a point.

"We deserved better last night [a 4-2 home loss to the Washington Capitals] and we walk away with nothing, and our goalie stole a point for us tonight," Muller said. "Obviously, he was the difference for us tonight."

Tlusty opened the scoring 4:35 into the game when his long wrister through traffic eluded Bishop, who had shut out Carolina in his previous two games against the Hurricanes.

"If you want to score goals, you have to put the pucks at the net and I'm not doing that as much as I should," Tlusty said. "It's trying to establish the mindset and try to put the pucks at the net. And you know what, it went in the first time, and I just tried to keep doing the same thing."

Hedman got the Lightning (22-11-3) even at 16:12 when he snuck in from the point, took a pass from Filppula and slipped a shot behind Peters for his seventh goal of the season. Alex Killorn also assisted, earning his fourth point in as many games.

The Lightning finished the opening period outshooting Carolina 19-8, with 13 of those attempts coming from the defense

But it was the third period that again made the difference for the Lightning. Tampa Bay has three third-period comebacks in its past four games.

"We just had to stay with what we were doing," Cooper said. "The biggest thing with your team is whether you are up or behind, you have to stick with the program, and they have been doing that.

"The third period, things have really been working out for us, but I believe we've earned those breaks along the way. If you just play consistently hard every single night things eventually will pay off for you. The guys have been playing the right way. They are not cheating the game and they are playing hard."

Tampa Bay reclaimed one player from the ranks of the injured when Tom Pyatt returned after missing 32 games with a broken collarbone, but they saw defenseman Eric Brewer leave in the second period after a collision along the boards and not return.

Cooper said he wasn't worried despite Peters' superb performance.

"I'm not the least bit frustrated with anything right now," he said. "That is less frustrating for me then getting 20 shots on net so I would rather get the 50 and ultimately say, 'The goalie flat-out beat us', instead of sitting here saying, 'We just beat ourselves.'"

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