Tampa Bay Sports Day

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning Rally, Defeat Blackhawks in OT

TAMPA, Fla. — Yanni Gourde’s second NHL goal was a huge one, as the 25-year-old rookie stole the puck and scored a breakaway game-winner with 35 seconds left in overtime as the Tampa Bay Lightning rallied for a 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night at Amalie Arena.

“It’s a pretty amazing feeling,” said Gourde, who had fresh legs before Chicago could change lines, pulling away and beating goalie Scott Darling to complete a wild comeback. “We really believe we can be in a playoff spot, and that’s what we’ve been showing lately. We want to be there and we work hard.”

The Lightning (37-29-9) picked up two much-needed points in the standings, moving ahead of the New York Islanders in the wild-card chase and pulling within a single point of the idle Boston Bruins for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“I don’t know that we’ve ever had our backs against the wall for this long a period and had to grind our way through,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “Something new every day. A left hook here, an uppercut here, but the guys won’t go down.”

Chicago (48-21-7) bounced back from a 7-0 loss at Florida on Saturday but saw a 4-1 lead slip away in the second period.

Andrei Vasilevskiy needed only one save in the final 15 minutes of the game to help the Lightning rally.

Chicago outshot Tampa Bay 10-1 in the first half of the third period, but Vasilevskiy — who left the game for the final 6:19 of the first period after giving up three early goals — made several stellar saves to preserve the 4-4 tie.

From there, the Blackhawks didn’t have a single shot on goal in the final 10 minutes as both teams took the point as play went to overtime. Darling had 25 saves for Chicago, while Vasilevskiy made 25 saves, 10 in the third period.

“They came hard there for a bit and got some fortunate bounces,” Darling said. “That’s what happens when you throw everything at the net and have a net-front presence, so credit them.”

The Lightning got help in other results, as the Islanders lost 3-1 to Nashville and surging Carolina lost 4-3 in overtime to Detroit. Tampa Bay also is just two points back of Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division.

The Lightning, down 4-1 midway through the second period and on their second goalie, rallied for three goals in five minutes — two from Jonathan Drouin — to tie the game and take momentum into the final period.

The rally started when Drouin redirected an Alex Killorn shot in front of the net for his 19th goal of the season, cutting the lead to 4-2 with 8:15 left in the period.

Just 62 seconds later, Greg McKegg wrapped around the goal and fed a pass to defenseman Anton Stralman, who scored his fourth goal of the season to cut the lead to 4-3. 

A delay penalty against Chicago gave the Lightning a power play with 4:37 left in the second, and halfway through that advantage, Drouin fired a long shot past Darling to tie the game with 3:36 remaining.
Tampa Bay finished with 14 shots in the period, including a late flurry that Darling held off to carry the tie to the third.

GAME NOTES: The Lightning, continuing to wait with hope for a return by Steven Stamkos, played again without three other regulars. D Jason Garrison missed a second straight game with a lower-body injury and C Tyler Johnson and C Cedric Paquette each missed their ninth straight with their own lower-body injuries. … Chicago RW Ryan Hartman, who earned a costly unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in Saturday’s 7-0 loss at Florida, found himself a healthy scratch in Monday’s game, the first game he’s missed in more than four months. D Michal Rozsival missed his ninth straight game and C Artem Anisimov his seventh straight, while D Michal Kempny was a healthy scratch for the eighth time in nine games