Stamkos leads Bolts’ big OT win over Sharks
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Lightning are a long shot to make the playoffs and are sellers as the trade deadline nears.
None of that mattered Thursday night.
Martin St. Louis scored his second goal of the game 4:27 into overtime, Steven Stamkos had two goals — his NHL-leading 38th and 39th — and two assists in his 300th career game, and the Lightning beat the San Jose Sharks 6-5.
“Character, that’s the word that came to mind for me,” Tampa Bay coach Guy Boucher said. “Giving up is two words that don’t exist in my vocabulary. It’s just totally against my nature.”
The teams announced a trade before the game, with the Sharks obtaining center Dominic Moore and a seventh-round draft pick this year for a 2012 second-round pick.
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said the team also plans to keep Pavel Kubina out of the lineup while it attempts to trade the defenseman.
“We’re not looking just to get rid of guys,” Yzerman said. “If we got offers that were really good, we would act on it. Getting the second-round pick is very valuable to us.”
St. Louis got the winner from close range off a pass from Victor Hedman, who tied a career high with three assists.
“If we throw in the towel because of what’s going on around us, it’s going to be a pretty miserable last two months,” St. Louis said. “I think we have enough character here we can build on tonight.”
Stamkos has 158 goals and 298 points overall. Teddy Purcell and Steve Downie had the other Tampa Bay goals.
The Pacific Division-leading Sharks got goals from Logan Couture, Michal Handzus, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Colin White and Tommy Wingels, who got San Jose even at 5 during a 2-on-1 with 5:10 remaining in the third.
Stamkos made it 4-4, scoring from the slot 2:44 into the third.
St. Louis gave the Lightning a 5-4 lead at 8:01 when his shot from along the goal line went off San Jose’s Justin Braun and past goalie Antti Niemi.
“It went off my shaft, took a bad bounce and ends up in the net,” Braun said. “It happens. I probably shouldn’t be that close to the blue paint, but you have to learn from it.”
Tampa Bay’s Dwayne Roloson made 45 saves, including five in overtime. Niemi stopped 19 shots.
“He wasn’t any good,” San Jose coach Todd McLellan said about Niemi. “I protect him a lot and talk about the team. He has to be better, flat out has to be better. They scored four goals on net play, rebounds, picking up the garbage, wraparounds, jams. That’s our D men. That’s our low forwards. So everybody has some responsibility, but (Niemi) knows he has to be better.”
Vlasic got his first goal in 17 games at 14:37 of second and White stopped a personal 148-game goal drought, dating to Dec. 28, 2009, 67 seconds later as San Jose went ahead 4-3.
Tampa Bay, outshot 20-4 during the second, had taken a 3-2 advantage on Downie’s goal at 14:08.
Handzus tied it 2 from the low slot at 1:44 of the second.
After Stamkos scored at 9:30 of the first, he assisted on Purcell’s power-play goal that gave Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead with 24.4 seconds left in the first.
Couture put the Sharks up 1-0 on a power-play goal just 1:16 into the game. The center had two goals in San Jose’s 7-2 victory over Tampa Bay on Dec. 21.
NOTES: San Jose D Douglas Murray left with an injury after just playing just two shifts. … Lightning D Brendan Mikkelson snapped a 31-game point drought, dating to Oct. 30, 2010, with two assists. He has no goals and eight assists in 103 NHL games. … Sharks C Torrey Mitchell had two assists for his first points in 12 games. … Tampa Bay D Matt Gilroy was back in the lineup after missing two games because of a hand injury.