NHL Game Summary - Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay
(Sunday, March 14th)
Final Score: Pittsburgh 2, Tampa Bay 1
Tampa, FL (Sports Network) - Sergei Gonchar notched the game-winning score early in the third period, as Pittsburgh clipped Tampa Bay, 2-1, at St. Pete Times Forum.
Pascal Dupuis also tallied for the Penguins, who snapped a two-game slide and have won five of their last seven.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves for Pittsburgh, which moved four points ahead of idle New Jersey (87-83) in the race for the Atlantic Division crown.
"It's one of those games where they are battling for the playoffs and they played like they wanted it," Dupuis said. "We came out not expecting that, we had a big push early in the third to win the game."
Vincent Lecavalier provided the lone strike for the Lightning, who slid to their eighth loss in 10 games.
Antero Niittymaki was solid in defeat, stopping 37-of-39 shots for Tampa Bay, which remained in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, three points behind the Rangers.
Dupuis knotted the game 2:20 into the third, when he followed a strange carom off the back boards from Jordan Staal's deflected chance and slipped the puck into an open net past a diving Niittymaki.
Gonchar put the Penguins ahead at 5:17 on a power play, when his blistering point shot clanged off the right post and in through a screen.
Fleury came up with four big stops -- all but one of the Lightning's total shots in the third -- on a Tampa power play with 3:40 left in regulation to keep it a one-goal margin, including a sprawling right-pad stop on Lecavalier from the right side.
Niitymaki wasn't able to head to the bench for an extra skater until 46 seconds remained, and the home team didn't threaten in the Penguins' end.
"It looked like we had things under control, and then we take back-to-back penalties. You give them an opening and it's over because they start feeling good about themselves," said Bolts forward Martin St. Louis.
Niittymaki was good on all 13 shots he faced in the first period, and Fleury was equal to his 10 shots faced.
Lecavalier snapped a scoreless tie at 8:09 of the second period, and Pittsburgh came up empty on 11 shots in the middle 20 minutes.
Pittsburgh has won two of three this season over Tampa Bay and five of the last seven meetings...Fleury has won four of his last five starts...The Penguins continue their five-game road trip on Wednesday at New Jersey, and the Lightning host Phoenix on Tuesday.
03/14 23:04:45 ET