After seeing a 2-0 lead evaporate with Nils Ekman's natural hat trick, LeCavalier's goal 2:41 into overtime gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-3 win Wednesday night.
"We played a great game, we were skating, we were pretty patient, and our power play scored again, so that's another positive," LeCavalier said. "You're up, 2-0, now they're up, 3-2, but we never stopped, we played well the whole game and came back."
Ekman had a natural hat trick, scoring three straight goals in a span of 4:10 late in the second period for Pittsburgh. The Penguins have gained at least a point in seven of their last eight games.
"It was good to come back in the third period. We haven't done that often this year," said Lightning coach John Tortorella, whose team won for the second time in six games when trailing after two periods. "We collected ourselves. We've done that a couple times this year and those are some steps in the right direction."
LeCavalier's winner came on a breakaway against Marc-Andre Fleury after Martin St. Louis found him with a long pass from the Tampa Bay end to near the Pittsburgh blue line. It was the second assist of the game for St. Louis, who has a 10-game point streak.
"We got a big block from our D, and... I took a peak at what Vinny was doing, and Vinny took off," St. Louis said. "I didn't have to look at him; I just kinda looked for where I thought he would be, and I found him. (The puck) was bouncing, but he was able to handle it, make a good move and score a big goal."
Ekman's goals came at 15:37, 18:19 and 19:47 of the second period against Tampa Bay goalie Johan Holmqvist.
The four minutes, 10 seconds between goals represented the shortest period of time for one player to score three goals in Penguins' history. The previous record was held by Lowell MacDonald, who had three in 4:17 of a 5-2 win against Minnesota on Nov. 13, 1973.
"I think I was just in the right place at the right time," said Ekman, who was promoted to a spot on the top line alongside Crosby early in the contest. "It's not like I did that much, I was just in front of the net and some guys on our team made great plays (to get me the puck) and I was standing there tipping them in."
Afanasenkov scored the game's first goal with 6:02 to play in the opening period when he deflected in a shot from the point by Nikita Alexeev from the right circle.
Richards made it 2-0 Tampa Bay with a power-play goal, his fourth, midway through the second period. While standing in the right-wing corner, Richards attempted a centering pass to Alexeev that was blocked by the Penguins but bounced right back to Richards near the goal mouth. He slammed it past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Five and a half minutes later, Ekman's first goal made it a 2-1 game when he scored from the slot on a pass from Crosby, who had received the puck in the low right-wing circle during a delayed penalty from Gonchar.
Ekman's second came 2:42 later when he deflected in a Ryan Whitney shot from the point while standing to the right of Holmqvist while on the power play.
With 13 seconds to play in the period, Ekman finished a three-on-two when he redirected in a fine pass from Crosby.
It was the first career hat trick for Ekman, who entered the game with two goals on the season.
Perrin tied the game at 3 less than five minutes into the third period when he finished a pass while at the right of Fleury from Ryan Craig, who was behind the net.
"They scored that third one, which put us on our heels a little bit," St. Louis said. "But you know what? It was our fourth road game, and (all we had to do was) win a period to set yourself up for overtime. And that's what we did."
|Nils the thrills Ekman watches one of his three goals get past Tampa netminder Johan Holmqvist. (AP)|
|Tampa Bay (8-7-1) «||1||1||1||1||4|
|13:58||Dmitry Afanasenkov (3), Tip-In - Assist: Nikita Alexeev|
|10:12||Power Play - Brad Richards (4), Wrap Shot - Assists: Martin St. Louis, Filip Kuba|
|15:37||Nils Ekman (3), Wrist Shot - Assists: Sidney Crosby, Sergei Gonchar|
|18:19||Power Play - Nils Ekman (4), Slap Shot - Assists: Ryan Whitney, Sergei Gonchar|
|19:47||Nils Ekman (5), Tip-In - Assists: Sidney Crosby, Colby Armstrong|
|04:47||Eric Perrin (3), Tip-In - Assists: Ryan Craig, Andreas Karlsson|
|02:41||Vincent Lecavalier (9), Backhand Shot - Assists: Martin St. Louis, Paul Ranger|
|07:43||Crosby: Hooking - 2 min.|
|10:48||Pratt: Holding - 2 min.|
|18:11||Armstrong: Hooking - 2 min.|
|03:01||Thorburn: Holding - 2 min.|
|09:46||Moore: Hooking - 2 min.|
|15:37||Janik: High sticking - 2 min.|
|17:38||Pratt: Holding - 2 min.|
|01:49||LeClair: Holding - 2 min.|
|12:43||Fedotenko: High sticking - 2 min.|
|SHOTS ON GOAL|
|Attendance - 14483|
|Game Time - 62:41|
|Referees - Mike Leggo, Dean Morton|
|Line Judges - Thor Nelson, Dan Schachte|