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Neal's OT marker lifts Pengiuns past Lightning
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - James Neal kept Pittsburgh's winning streak over Tampa Bay intact with the game-winning goal 1:27 into overtime as the Penguins edged the Lightning, 4-3, on Saturday.
Evgeni Malkin scored twice in the final 8:53 of regulation and added two assists, including one on the deciding goal. With the Penguins on a 4-on-3 advantage in the extra frame thanks to a too many men on the ice penalty, Malkin sent a pass down to Neal in the right circle, and Neal beat Anders Lindback with a one-timer to the far side.
"It's extremely frustrating with how it ended up," Lightning head coach Jon Cooper said, referencing the bad break his team caught with the penalty. "If that puck bounces one way, it doesn't happen."
The Penguins converted on 3-of-6 power-play chances and have now beaten the Lightning nine straight times. Jeff Zatkoff made 21 saves, and Sidney Crosby recorded a goal and two assists for the Metropolitan Division leaders.
Tampa Bay's Ondrej Palat scored with 1:22 left in regulation to force overtime, while Steven Stamkos had a goal and assisted on Valtteri Filppula's second-period tally.
Lindback gave up four goals on 29 shots as the Lightning had their five-game winning streak snapped.
Each team scored on the power play in the second period, with Crosby finding the back of the net off a one-timer from Malkin at 5:29 and Filppula sneaking one inside the goal post off a cross-ice feed from Stamkos at the 16:44 mark.
Tampa Bay took its first lead 8:17 into the third when Stamkos crashed the net and stuffed in a loose puck under Zatkoff's pads.
The lead lasted all of 2:50, as Malkin chipped in a rebound at a sharp angle on the man advantage.
Malkin gave the Penguins a short-lived lead with 3:17 left in the third as Jussi Jokinen intercepted a pass at the blue line and fed the uncovered star forward in front of the net. Malkin steadied the puck on its edge, and with his back turned towards Lindback, backhanded one over the goaltender's left shoulder and into the right corner.
"He...just dominated the whole night," Crosby said of Malkin. "It's fun to see your teammates play like that and get rewarded."
Palat single-handedly forced overtime when he skated into the offensive zone, split a pair of defenders, avoided Zatkoff's poke check and scored on a wrister with 82 seconds showing.
Zatkoff earned his first career NHL assist on Crosby's goal ... Filppula has an eight-game point streak and surpassed his career-high goal total (24) previously set in the 2011-12 campaign for Detroit ... Tampa Bay last beat the Penguins on Nov. 17, 2011.
03/22 17:56:58 ET