TAMPA — To establish long winning streaks, a lot of things have to go a team's way. In addition to solid goaltending, a team must get critical penalty kills and timely power-play goals.
Through an eight-game winning streak, the Lightning had all those ingredients go its way.
On Saturday night against the Hurricanes, it displayed another one: grit.
Alex Killorn scored with 43 seconds left in overtime to lift the Lightning to a 4-3 victory in front of an announced 19,092 at Amalie Arena. The ninth straight win established a franchise record for Tampa Bay (39-22-4). The Lightning won eight in a row during its run to the 2004 Stanley Cup.
"It's hard enough to win in this league, let alone ring off nine in a row," coach Jon Cooper said. "It would be really awesome if Anaheim didn't reel off 11 in a row (the Ducks won their team-record 11th straight Saturday afternoon). They're kind of stealing our thunder a little bit.
"(The Lightning's streak is) a testament of how the group has really stuck together."
One line that is back together is starting to get going. The Triplets line of Ondrej Palat, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov had a big night. Palat scored two goals. Johnson had a goal and an assist, and Kucherov had two assists for his team-high 16th multipoint game.
But it was Killorn's goal that ended a wild night that saw Tampa Bay blow leads of 1-0 and 2-1, and fall behind 3-2 before pulling out the victory.
"If you look at playoff series, there's a lot of ebbs and flows, ups and downs," Killorn said. "The way you handle those shows the character of your team. I think it was great the way we responded.
"I had some ice coming, and I just committed to taking it to the net," Killorn said of the winner, his 13th goal of the season. "Fortunately, it worked out."
The Lightning led 2-1 heading into the third period when the game got wild.
With center Valtteri Filppula off for tripping, Carolina center Jordan Staal was credited with a power-play goal when a shot hit Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman in the face and then bounced into the net, tying the score at 2.
The Hurricanes took a 3-2 lead when wing Jeff Skinner got the rebound of a shot by wing Phillip Di Giuseppe and punched the puck in an open net.
Tampa Bay answered with 6:18 left. Kucherov sped down the right side and blasted a shot that bounced off goalie Eddie Lack. He got the rebound and fed Johnson, who buried his 12th goal of the season to tie the score at 3.
Palat got things going in the first period. He netted the 50th goal of his NHL career when he blew past Carolina defenseman Ron Hainsey, then flicked a shot past Lack for a 1-0 lead.
After Carolina center Victor Rask tied the score at 1 in the second period — his shot appeared to hit the stick of Tampa Bay defenseman Braydon Coburn and flutter into the net — Palat got his 10th of the season when he flipped a shot past a screened Lack to give the Lightning a 2-1 lead in the second.
It was the second time this season Palat scored twice in a game.
Goalie Ben Bishop stretched his personal winning streak to six games, matching a career high set Nov. 1-14, 2013.
First—1, TB, Palat 9 (Johnson), 16:43. Penalties—Hedman, TB (hooking), 14:31.
Second—2, Car, Rask 15 (Di Giuseppe, Skinner), 13:24. 3, TB, Palat 10 (Kucherov), 15:41. Penalties—Ryan, Car (high-sticking), 9:12.
Third—4, Car, Staal 17 (Lindholm, Rask), 3:09 (pp). 5, Car, Skinner 23 (Di Giuseppe, Murphy), 10:18. 6, TB, Johnson 12 (Kucherov, Namestnikov), 13:42. Penalties—Filppula, TB (tripping), 2:22; Nash, Car, double minor (high-sticking), 5:45; Paquette, TB (hooking), 10:43; Hainsey, Car (holding), 16:06.
OT—7, TB, Killorn 13 (Filppula), 4:17. Penalties—None. SOG—Car 8-10-5-4—27. TB 5-10-11-4—30. PPs—Car 1 of 3; TB 0 of 4. Goalies—Car, Lack 11-11-4 (30 shots-26 saves). TB, B.Bishop 28-17-3 (27-24).