TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Marc-Andre Bergeron recently joined the Tampa Bay Lightning as a power-play specialist. It turns out the veteran defenseman can also provide a lift in overtime.
Bergeron scored 1:32 into the extra session, helping the Lightning rebound after blowing a two-goal lead during the final minute of regulation and beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 on Saturday night.
“Big goals at big moments … I’m happy, but not surprised,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher.
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Bergeron’s goal from the right circle came off a pass from Sean Bergenheim. It was his first goal since joining the Lightning on Feb. 5 from Norfolk of the AHL.
“I had a chance to create an odd-man rush,” Bergeron said. “Bergie did a tremendous job along the boards and to get a rush up the ice. He made a good pass, and I just tried to get a shot on net and it went in.”
Bergeron, coming off a knee injury, was signed by Tampa Bay on Jan. 4.
Carolina had tied it 3-3 on late goals by Jeff Skinner and Erik Cole after goalie Cam Ward went to the Hurricanes bench for an extra skater.
“It stinks to lose in overtime, but the guys did what they could in the third period to battle back and get an important point,” Ward said
Vincent Lecavalier scored his fourth goal in three games, and Dwayne Roloson made 31 saves as Tampa Bay won for the eighth time in 10 games.
Tampa Bay also got goals from Steve Downie and Bergenheim. The Southeast Division-leading Lightning increased their cushion over second-place Washington to five points.
Eric Staal also scored for the Hurricanes, who have lost five of six. Carolina plays at Atlanta on Sunday. Both teams have 60 points, with the Hurricanes playing one less game, and the winning club will own sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
“Huge game for us,” Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. “It’s four in six (days), so we’ll have to go to the well a little bit, but I think the magnitude of the game should help us with our energy.”
After Skinner, an 18-year old rookie with 21 goals this season, scored with 51.1 seconds left, Cole tied it with 32.9 seconds remaining when a shot deflected off his leg in the slot.
Ward made 37 saves. He took a shot from the right circle by Steven Stamkos off his mask early in the third, but wasn’t hurt.
Downie put the Lightning ahead 1-0 from the low slot 4:26 into the second.
Lecavalier made it 2-0 during a power play at 7:41 of the second. The Tampa Bay captain had just one goal in 16 games before his current three-game goal streak.
Staal cut the deficit to 2-1 with his 27th of the season, scoring on a power play with 10:52 left in the second.
Bergenheim extended the Lightning advantage to 3-1 at 12:48 of the third with a goal in his 300th NHL game.
Stamkos assisted on Downie’s goal for his 74th point (40 goals, 34 assists). He has five assists and six points during a three-game point streak.
Notes: The Lightning are 5-2 just past the midway point of a 12-game homestand. … Tampa Bay LW Ryan Malone, hurt in Tuesday’s game against Buffalo, will be sidelined indefinitely with an abdominal injury. … Hurricanes D Joni Pitkanen returned after missing one game because of an unidentified lower body injury. He had two assists, giving him 20 in 24 games against Tampa Bay.