TAMPA — Perhaps the happiest person in the Tampa Bay Times Forum on Thursday night about the Lightning's 6-5 overtime victory over the Blackhawks was Radko Gudas.
The Lightning defenseman scored what was basically an own goal that tied the score 5-5 with 1:49 left in the third period, a mere 40 seconds after Steven Stamkos' second goal of the game had given Tampa Bay the lead.
So when Marty St. Louis scored 1:16 into the extra period, "Wow," Gudas said. "I felt a lot better."
The win gave the Lightning (6-3-0) a season sweep over the defending Stanley Cup champs.
Stamkos, with four points, continued an amazing run against Chicago, with nine goals and 14 points in seven games. Ben Bishop bested former Lightning goalie Nikolai Khabibulin with 38 saves. Chicago led 43-25 in shots.
Nate Thompson scored shorthanded. Matt Carle and Stamkos scored on the power play. Defenseman Victor Hedman, coming off a minus-5 game Saturday against the Bruins, had a goal, two points and four blocked shots.
"We battled," Stamkos said. "It wasn't the nicest win, by any means, but we played the game like it had to be played, the scenario that we were in. We showed a lot of character coming back after that lucky goal."
Lucky is right.
Tampa Bay led 5-4 after Hedman scored with 8:57 left in the third period and Stamkos with 2:39 left.
But then things got crazy.
Defenseman Matt Carle, near the Lightning blue line, sent the puck back to Gudas, who was in the slot. Gudas said the puck bounced off a rough spot, hit the shaft of his stick, then his ankle and deflected past a puzzled Bishop.
"It bounced right in front of me and went straight in," Gudas said. "I didn't think my first (goal) of the season was going to be like that."
"Matty just passed it back to (Gudas)," Bishop said. (The Blackhawks) were changing, so I was trying to point to (Gudas) to play it right up. Next thing you know, it's in the net. I've never seen that happen before."
Said coach Jon Cooper: "It almost happened in slow motion."
It turned out right when St. Louis scored after Khabibulin stopped Gudas' slap shot to end a two-game series between the teams in which Tampa Bay was outshot 82-41 but won in a shootout and in overtime.
"Let's be honest. We stole that game in Chicago," Cooper said. "I don't think we stole (Thursday). We hung in there, and every time they pushed, we pushed back."
"It's finding ways to win," Stamkos said, "when in previous years we were finding ways to lose."
First Period—1, TB, Carle 1 (Filppula, Panik), 6:28 (pp). Penalties—Rozsival, Chi (hooking), 4:49; Stamkos, TB (interference), 12:53.
Second Period—2, TB, Thompson 1 (Crombeen, Sustr), 1:24 (sh). 3, Chi, Bickell 3 (Kruger, Seabrook), 9:00. 4, Chi, Hossa 4 (Sharp, Toews), 10:36. 5, TB, Stamkos 6 (Hedman), 17:21. 6, Chi, Kane 5, 18:53. Penalties—TB bench, served by Malone (too many men), :33; Toews, Chi (high-sticking), 4:10; Stamkos, TB (interference), 5:16; Gudas, TB (trip), 10:42; Rozsival, Chi (trip), 14:40.
Third Period—7, Chi, Shaw 1 (Kane, Keith), 1:33 (pp). 8, TB, Hedman 1 (St. Louis, Stamkos), 11:03. 9, TB, Stamkos 7 (Filppula), 17:31 (pp). 10, Chi, Toews 4, 18:11. Penalties—Filppula, TB (hooking), :42; Hedman, TB (tripping), 7:30; Handzus, Chi (face-off violation), 17:08.
OT—11, TB, St. Louis 5 (Stamkos, Gudas), 1:16. Penalties—None. Shots—Chi 12-15-15-1—43. TB 4-7-12-2—25. PP opps—Chi 1 of 6; TB 2 of 4. Goalies—Chi, Khabibulin 1-0-1 (25 shots-19 saves). TB, Bishop 6-1-0 (43-38). A—18,820 (19,204).