Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Lightning tops Penguins in OT (w/video)

TAMPA — Though Jonathan Drouin remains in limbo in AHL Syracuse awaiting a trade, another Lightning first-round draft pick is flourishing.

Forward Vladislav Namestnikov, playing the kind of minutes and top-line role Drouin has sought, continued his breakout season with a bang Friday, his first pro hat trick lifting the Lightning to a 5-4 overtime win over the Penguins at Amalie Arena.

"You obviously dream about it," Namestnikov said. "It's a special feeling."

Namestnikov's third tally was the winner. He pounced on a loose puck just over two minutes into overtime. It sealed a season-high fourth straight win for Tampa Bay (23-17-4), which had blown a two-goal lead before tying it with five minutes left in regulation.

"Blown leads, comebacks, extra time, send the fans home happy and throw on a hat trick to boot," coach Jon Cooper said. "So it's pretty good."

The Lightning should feel fortunate to walk away with two points. The Penguins outshot it 35-18 after the first five minutes of the game. Tampa Bay's resurgent power play came through with two goals in the second period, including a 5-on-3 goal by Valtteri Filppula. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy once again gave Tampa Bay a chance with 36 saves.

But it was Namestnikov's night. It hasn't been easy for Namestnikov, the 27th overall pick in 2011. He split last season between the Lightning and Syracuse, and like Drouin, he was often a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Even this season, Namestnikov has played less than 10 minutes five times and has spent time on the fourth line.

"He's had to fight for everything," Cooper said. "He stuck with it. He's made a choice to be an NHL hockey player, and you really pull for guys like that."

Namestnikov, 23, has been the team's most improved player this season, stepping up when thrust into a top-six role due to injuries. And he has earned his way back as the team has gotten healthy, forming the Lightning's hottest line with captain Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat.

"He's been one of our best forwards all year," defenseman Anton Stralman said. "It's been fun to watch."

You can see Namestnikov's confidence soaring from a mile away. On his first goal, Namestnikov used his best asset, speed, to race down the right side before ripping a shot gloveside past Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

"You don't see him do that a whole lot," Cooper said.

Namestnikov's second goal, which made the score 3-1 in the second period, came on a power play. He snuck behind two defensemen to tip in a Victor Hedman point shot.

The Penguins then made a big push, beating the Lightning to pucks and controlling the faceoff circle, and taking the lead at 4-3 with six minutes left. But two shifts later, Stralman forced overtime with a spectacular spin-o-rama backhand. "He's been saving that one," Cooper joked.

Namestnikov finished it off, zipping around the Penguins zone, then crashing the net to put in a rebound off a Nikita Kucherov shot.

Said Cooper: "He's being a big-time contributor, playing with some big-time players, and he's fitting in just fine."

Lightning 1 2 1 1 5
Penguins 1 1 2 0 4
Lightning 1 2 1 1 5
Penguins 1 1 2 0 4

 

First Period1, Tampa Bay, Namestnikov 7 (Stamkos, Nesterov), 1:51. 2, Pittsburgh, Letang 6 (Crosby, Hornqvist), 10:37. PenaltiesKucherov, TB (hooking), 4:46; Paquette, TB (hooking), 15:47; Rust, Pit (holding), 18:09.

Second Period3, Tampa Bay, Filppula 6 (Johnson, Stamkos), 8:12 (pp). 4, Tampa Bay, Namestnikov 8 (Hedman, Filppula), 10:47 (pp). 5, Pittsburgh, Hornqvist 10 (Malkin, Letang), 14:23 (pp). PenaltiesSustr, TB (holding), 4:43; Cullen, Pit (hooking), 7:45; Fehr, Pit (hooking), 7:49; Cullen, Pit (cross-checking), 8:54; Nesterov, TB (hooking), 13:06.

Third Period6, Pittsburgh, Daley 2 (Malkin, Kessel), 10:13. 7, Pittsburgh, Kunitz 7 (Maatta, Hornqvist), 13:48. 8, Tampa Bay, Stralman 5 (Filppula, Paquette), 15:21. PenaltiesKunitz, Pit (boarding), 2:48.

Overtime9, Tampa Bay, Namestnikov 9 (Kucherov), 2:11. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalPittsburgh 8-11-18-3—40. Tampa Bay 7-6-10-2—25. Power-play opportunitiesPittsburgh 1 of 4; Tampa Bay 2 of 5. GoaliesPittsburgh, Fleury 15-11-5 (25 shots-20 saves). Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 6-4-0 (40-36). A19,092 (19,092). T2:42. Referees—Gord Dwyer, Dean Morton. LinesmenJohn Grandt, Derek Amell.

Lightning tops Penguins in OT (w/video) 01/15/16 [Last modified: Saturday, January 16, 2016 9:00am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Bucs players respond to Trump comments on anthem protests

    Blogs

    President Donald Trump shared his thoughts Friday night on NFL players protesting during the national anthem, suggesting that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the anthem in protest. His remarks are alreading drawing responses from many NFL players, including some Bucs.

    Bucs players Mike Evans and Jameis Winston stand with coach Dirk Koetter during the national anthem in a game played in San Diego last season.
  2. Rays morning after: Wilson Ramos showing glimpses of what's possible in 2018

    Blogs

    The real payoff for the Rays signing C Wilson Ramos last off-season will come in 2018, when he can play a full season fully recovered from right knee surgery.

    Catcher Wilson Ramos connects for a two-run single in the fifth inning against the Cubs on Sept. 20, 2017.
  3. Buccaneers-Vikings Scouting Report: Watching Kyle Rudolph, Adam Thielen and Everson Griffen

    Bucs

    No matter how much film we study, no matter how much data we parse, we just don't know how an NFL season will unfold.

    Four of tight end Kyle Rudolph's seven catches this season have come on third down, including this 15-yard touchdown in the Vikings' opener against the Saints. [Getty Images]
  4. Ryan Callahan encouraged by his return

    Blogs

    Captain Steven Stamkos wasn't the only key Lightning player to make a triumphant return Friday night against Nashville.

  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb hates to hear how he "battled through" or "grinded out" a start rather than just dominated, but that's kind of what he did Friday, allowing nine hits and a walk and being charged with two wild pitches but only three runs in earning his 12th win.