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Stamkos' OT goal lifts Lightning past Sabres @NHLdotcom

Steven Stamkos put one into the wrong net before scoring the game-winner into the right one.

The Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Buffalo Sabres 4-3 Saturday with an overtime power-play goal from Stamkos after he had given the Sabres a third-period lead with an own goal during a delayed penalty.

"It's a tough bounce, but we responded," Stamkos said, according to The Associated Press. "We get a power play after that and tie it up and that was a good push back from us."

Tampa Bay (41-24-9) has at least one point in 11 straight games as it competes with the Montreal Canadiens for second place in the Atlantic Division. Montreal leads by two points (93-91) after a 4-1 win against the Florida Panthers on Saturday. The Lightning has a game in hand; the teams play each other at Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

With four forwards on the ice in overtime, Valtteri Filppula fed Stamkos in the right circle and his one-timer went between the post and the glove of Sabres goalie Matt Hackett at 1:53 for his second goal of the game.

Or third, depending how you want to count the own goal, which gave the Sabres a 3-2 lead with 11:46 to go.

"I've seen it a couple times, never live," Stamkos said. "You see it on the highlights. I'm sure I'll make them now in the un-top 10, but as soon as it went over our [defenseman's] stick I knew it had a pretty good chance to go in."

Stamkos' hard cross-ice pass went jumped the stick of teammate Michael Kostka, hit off the right-wing boards and slowly made its way down to the opposite end and into the goal that had been vacated by Ben Bishop for an extra skater.

"In the back of your head, it's always a fear, a 6-by-4 open [net]," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I don't know if he took a puck, and had 10 of them, in a practice, he could throw it ... gosh, that was tough to watch.

"When the puck goes down the ice, of course it's like going in slow motion. As soon as I saw the angle, you knew it was going in. That was tough, but it's funny how things work out, and he's the guy that ends up being a big part of bailing you out in the end."

Cory Conacher, whose hooking penalty created the situation, was given credit for the goal at 8:14 as the last Buffalo player to touch the puck.

"It was a good break for us," Sabres interim coach Ted Nolan said. "We had a number of chances to win that game."

Another came late in the third period when Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer protected a wide-open side of the net and deflected away a shot by Sabres forward Johan Larsson.

Buffalo (20-46-8) has lost 11 of 13, with one of the wins 3-1 at Tampa Bay on March 6. The teams played three one-goal games this season.

The Lightning tied this one 3-3 less than two minutes after the own goal during a 5-on-3 power play. Teddy Purcell passed from the left wing to Ryan Callahan in front, where he guided the puck past Hackett at 10:07.

Tampa Bay had the two-man advantage after Mike Weber was called for cross-checking 1:00 after Conacher was put in the box for his hooking penalty.

"We're watching certain individuals to see how they respond," Nolan said. "The season is the season, but you want to see how people react.

"The one penalty we take to make it 5-on-3, I mean, there's no need to cross-check somebody in the back of the head, twice, to make us down 5-3. That's just a bad, bad penalty. The other one, in overtime (hooking on Drew Stafford), that was a very questionable call there. But the effort was there."

After a pregame ceremony that inducted goaltender Dominik Hasek into the Sabres Hall of Fame, the teams played a four-goal first period.

The Sabres scored twice in a 1:47 span to take a 2-0 lead.

Matt D'Agostini took a cross-ice pass at the offensive blue line, skated left to right between the circles, and his shot went over Bishop's right shoulder at 12:20.

Buffalo forward Zemgus Girgensons created a turnover by Kostka, and the puck came to Sabres defenseman Christian Ehrhoff at the left point. His long shot was tipped down by Cody Hodgson through Bishop's legs at 14:07.

The Lightning answered with two goals in a 1:54 span.

Nikita Kucherov won a race to a loose puck on the goal line to the left of the Sabres net. He skated behind the cage and passed to Alex Killorn, whose one-timer went through Hackett's legs with 2:08 left.

Tampa Bay forward J.T. Brown chased down his dump-in at the end boards, emerged with puck and passed out front to Stamkos, whose one-timer beat Hackett with 14 seconds remaining.

"The reason why we [gave up] those two goals is the reason why we're in 30th place," Nolan said. "We're puck staring; you go over and review it a lot over and over again in practice: You can't puck stare, especially against a team like [Tampa Bay]."

Stamkos has 23 goals this season, nine since returning from a broken right tibia on March 6.

Earlier in the week, the Sabres announced they will retire Hasek's No. 39 next season.

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