Vladislav Namestnikov's hat trick lifts Lightning past Penguins in OT thriller
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper didn't want to jinx the defending Eastern Conference champion's best stretch of the season.
"Let's not talk about that," Cooper said with a smile after Vladislav Namestnikov completed a hat trick in overtime and the Lightning beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-4 on Friday night to extend a season-high four-game winning streak.
Valtteri Filppula and Anton Stralman also scored for Tampa Bay and Steven Stamkos had two assists. Andrei Vasilevskiy made 36 saves.
Pittsburgh got goals from Kris Letang, Patric Hornqvist, Trevor Daley and Chris Kunitz. Evgeni Malkin had two assists, giving him 23 assists and 42 points in 31 games against Tampa Bay.
Namestnikov scored the winner from in close 2:11 into the extra session. The 23-year-old forward has three goals and five assists during a four-game point streak.
"He's spent a lot of time in the minors," Cooper said. "He's had to fight for everything. He's stuck with it. He's earned it, and deserves it."
Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves for the Penguins.
Pittsburgh rallied from two down for a one-goal lead on third-period goals by Daley (10:13) and Kunitz (13:48) before Stralman tied it 4-4 with 4:39 left.
Tampa Bay made the Penguins pay for three penalties over a 69-second span midway through the second. After Filppula scored during a 5-on-3 at 8:12, Namestnikov put the Lightning up 3-1 with a nice redirection of Victor Hedman's shot at 10:47.
Hornqvist cut the deficit to 3-2 on a power-play goal with 5:37 to go in the second.
"We have to find a way to stay out of the penalty box," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "We can't give a team that has that much firepower extended 5-on-3s like that. Regardless of how or why, we've got to find a way to avoid those circumstances."
Sidney Crosby was left alone near the post late in the second, but the Penguins captain sent a tip-in try wide of an open net.
Namestnikov got his first goal in 12 games 1:51 in when he beat Fleury from the top of the right circle.
"I honestly just try to keep it simple," Namestnikov said.
Fleury had won his previous seven decisions against the Lightning.
Letang tied it at 1 as his low-left circle shot tricked past Vasilevskiy at 10:37 of the first. The goalie lost his stick just before Daley's goal.
NOTES: Letang appeared to get hurt during the second period but returned to play 10 of his game-high 32 shifts in the third. ... Crosby had an assist and has 27 assists and 40 points in 29 games against Tampa Bay. ... Stamkos has 16 assists and 24 points in 25 games against Pittsburgh. ... Penguins C Matt Cullen played in 1,255th NHL game and is one away from tying Henri Richard, Brian Rolston and Craig Ludwig for 78th place on the career list. ... Pittsburgh C Nick Bonino, hurt in Tuesday's game against Carolina, is out indefinitely with a hand injury. ... The Penguins recalled F Conor Sheary from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.