TAMPA — So many things were in play during Saturday night's season-opening game between the Lightning and Capitals, it was difficult to keep track.
As Washington coach Adam Oates said before the game, "It will be a bit more mental because of the time off and the mistakes and the fatigue level due to conditioning."
But in the end, the Lightning's 6-3 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum came down to hustle and a sizzling shot.
Marty St. Louis scored the winner 5-on-3 with a shot from the slot 4:57 into the third period to break a 3-3 tie but only after Steven Stamkos outscrambled a Capitals player to keep the puck in the offensive zone.
It was St. Louis' second goal of the game, both on the power play, and third point, and sparked a three-goal period that included tallies by Eric Brewer and rookie Cory Conacher, his first NHL goal.
Brewer scored twice, including on Tampa Bay's first shot of the game, and Vinny Lecavalier and Conacher each had a goal and two points as the Lightning won its fourth straight against its Southeast Division foe.
Goaltender Anders Lindback, in his first game for the Lightning, did his part with 27 saves, though his biggest contribution came in the first seven minutes when the Capitals, with three power plays, had a 7-0 lead in shots.
Tampa Bay found its legs and finished with a 34-30 shot advantage.
The Capitals had a 17-8 lead in shots in the first period, but the Lightning had a 2-1 lead with goals by Brewer and Lecavalier.
Tampa Bay did not get a shot until 6:24 into the period, but Brewer made it count, going high over the left shoulder of goalie Braden Holtby.
The Capitals tied the score on the power play at 8:25 as Joel Ward, in front of the net, smacked in a rebound.
But Lecavalier answered 44 seconds later after Keith Aulie's blocked shot deflected right to the captain's stick.
The Lightning took over the momentum in the second period with a 13-6 advantage in shots. The period ended 3-3 with the Capitals getting two goals on lucky bounces.
Ward tied the score at 2 when a puck deflected in off his skate 1:59 into the second period.
The Lightning took a 3-2 lead at 5:11 on St. Louis' power-play goal from in front of the net. Lecavalier made a perfect pass from the bottom of the right faceoff circle.
Wojtek Wolski's tying goal with 1:45 left came after he outhustled St. Louis in the slot to get to a rebound of Mike Ribiero's shot.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Brewer 1 (Carle, St. Louis), 6:24. 2, Washington, Ward 1 (Wolski, Poti), 8:25 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 1 (Aulie), 9:09. Penalties—Malone, TB (interference), :28; Lee, TB (hooking), 2:51; Lee, TB (boarding), 6:37; Brouwer, Was (boarding), 14:01.
Second Period—4, Washington, Ward 2 (Chimera, Carlson), 1:59. 5, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 1 (Lecavalier, Conacher), 5:11 (pp). 6, Washington, Wolski 1 (Ribeiro, Hamrlik), 18:15. Penalties—Wolski, Was (holding), 4:06; Chimera, Was (roughing), 6:59; Ribeiro, Was (high-sticking), 14:28; Ovechkin, Was (diving), 17:26; Salo, TB (holding), 17:26.
Third Period—7, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 2 (Stamkos, Purcell), 4:57 (pp). 8, Tampa Bay, Conacher 1 (Purcell), 13:24. 9, Tampa Bay, Brewer 2 (Purcell, Stamkos), 16:42 (pp). Penalties—Perreault, Was (tripping), 3:18; Backstrom, Was (tripping), 4:22; Pyatt, TB (holding), 7:04; Hendricks, Was (roughing), 15:42. Shots on Goal—Washington 17-6-7—30. Tampa Bay 8-13-13—34. Power-play opportunities—Washington 1 of 4; Tampa Bay 3 of 7. Goalies—Washington, Holtby 0-1-0 (34 shots-28 saves). Tampa Bay, Lindback 1-0-0 (30-27). A—19,204 (19,204). T—2:43. Referees—Eric Furlatt, Ghislain Hebert. Linesmen—Scott Cherrey, Mark Shewchyk.