TAMPA — As wide open as he was and despite a direct lane to the net, Lightning defenseman Eric Brewer said his inclination was not to shoot — not with teammate Steven Stamkos open in front.
"When you have a guy like that going to the back door," Brewer said, "I don't think anyone is going to shoot unless the goalie is all the way down, which he wasn't."
So Brewer fed Stamkos for the goal 30 seconds into overtime that gave the Lightning a 5-4 victory over the Flames on Thursday night at the St. Pete Times Forum.
It was Stamkos' 19th goal, which tied him for the league lead, and let Tampa Bay avoid what would have been a crushing defeat.
The Lightning (13-16-2), losers of seven of nine, lost a two-goal lead in a third period in which it was outshot 13-5. That after a dominant second period in which it outshot Calgary 18-5 and scored three times to take a 4-2 lead.
"When you're struggling to get wins," Stamkos said, "you take them any way you can."
Teddy Purcell scored his first goal in 17 games. Tom Pyatt, Ryan Malone and Nate Thompson scored in the second period.
Victor Hedman and Steve Downie each had two assists as did Calgary defenseman Chris Butler, who deflected shots by Purcell and Thompson past his own goalie, Miikka Kiprusoff.
But Hedman's slashing penalty led to Olli Jokinen's power-play goal that tied the score with 3:12 left in the third. Rene Bourque's breakaway, after a miscommunication between Brett Clark and Malone, made it 4-3 58 seconds into the period.
"We sat back," Stamkos said. "We got out of focus and the structure we had the first two periods when we got pucks in deep and didn't turn the puck over. When you're confident as a team and you're in those positions, you keep going. Right now, we're a little fragile, and that showed. We have to correct that."
A crisp winning goal should help.
Pavel Kubina, from behind his net, passed to Stamkos breaking down ice.
"He gave it to me right up the middle, which I think caught them off guard," Stamkos said.
Downie, in the offensive zone, passed cross-ice to Brewer, who gave it to Stamkos in front.
"I just wanted to make sure I got a stick or a skate on it or something," Stamkos said. "It was a great play by everyone involved."
And a sign of good things to come, Lightning coach Guy Boucher said:
"I've been one of those fools that believes our team has done really well the last 10 games and if you keep on doing it and stick with it, it's going to pay off in the end.
"Tonight, it paid off, so it's very positive."
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Purcell 6 (Downie, Moore), 5:11 (pp). 2, Calgary, Stajan 1 (Jackman, Kostopoulos), 19:27. Penalties—Jokinen, Cal (hooking), 3:30; Bouwmeester, Cal (hooking), 13:17; Purcell, TB (goaltender interference), 13:17; Gilroy, TB (cross-checking), 16:46; Moore, TB (hooking), 19:55.
Second Period—3, Calgary, Iginla 12 (Jokinen, Bouwmeester), 1:57. 4, Tampa Bay, Pyatt 3 (Shannon, Jones), 10:10. 5, Tampa Bay, Malone 7 (Stamkos, Hedman), 12:05. 6, Tampa Bay, Thompson 3 (Tyrell, Hedman), 19:26. Penalties—None.
Third Period—7, Calgary, Bourque 10 (D.Smith), :58. 8, Calgary, Jokinen 9 (Tanguay, D.Smith), 16:48 (pp). Penalties—Hedman, TB (slashing), 15:06.
Overtime—9, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 19 (Brewer, Downie), :30. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Calgary 9-5-13-0—27. Tampa Bay 10-18-5-1—34. Power-play opportunities—Calgary 1 of 3; Tampa Bay 1 of 1. Goalies—Calgary, Kiprusoff 14-10-2 (34 shots-29 saves). Tampa Bay, Garon 7-8-1 (27-23). A—17,241 (19,204).