DALLAS — The situation certainly didn't look good.
The Lightning trailed by two goals, on the road, with about five minutes left Saturday against the Stars and was playing its second game in as many nights.
But like Tampa Bay has done several times already this young season, it battled back to salvage a point.
The Lightning scored twice in the final five minutes and center Paul Szczechura hit the post in overtime before it lost 4-3 to Dallas in front of 17,334 at American Airlines Arena.
Though goalie Mike Smith said, "We've got to find a way to win these hockey games," coach Rick Tocchet took as a positive that Tampa Bay kept chipping away and gave itself a chance.
"If you're going to win down the road, if you're going to win in any big game, playoffs, you're going to have to stay in the games," Tocchet said. "Even though it's 3-1, you still got to be there. I think this is a building block, the fact you still keep pounding away, and you never know what can happen."
The Lightning (10-6-8), coming off a Friday victory over the Rangers in which it played arguably its best game of the season, wasn't as sharp.
"I thought there were four or five guys that weren't good tonight," Tocchet said. "But the other guys pulled the rope for us."
The Stars outshot the Lightning 13-5 in the first period, getting some quality chances on Smith, who kept Tampa Bay in it. Smith was excited to start in his first trip back to Dallas since the Stars traded him to Tampa Bay in February 2008.
The Lightning struck first in the second period, with Szczechura, a fourth-liner, stealing the puck from Stars defenseman Matt Niskanen at the Lightning blue line and carrying it into the Dallas zone before scoring.
The lead didn't last. The Stars took advantage of back-to-back five-on-three power plays late in the second. Stephane Robidas scored on a one-timer from the right circle, and Jere Lehtinen wristed a shot past Smith to put the Stars up 2-1. Smith took one of the penalties, for delay of game.
"It kills you, especially with the firepower they have," Smith said. "You give those guys chances like we did tonight, they're going to capitalize."
But the Lightning stormed back with five minutes left in the game, with two goals in 47 seconds. Steven Stamkos scored his team-high 17th on the power play, and soon after, ex-Star Jeff Halpern got his third to send it to overtime.
Tampa Bay had a power play for most of the final two minutes of regulation but couldn't score, and Szczechura hit the post in OT before Tom Wandell's winner with 2:48 left.
"It's a big point on the road," Smith said. "We came back from 3-1 down. You look back on these games in February and March knowing these could be big points."
First Period—None. Penalties—None.
Second Period—1, Tampa Bay, Szczechura 2, 6:18. 2, Dallas, Robidas 7 (Modano, Richards), 15:44 (pp). 3, Dallas, Lehtinen 1 (Richards, Robidas), 16:55 (pp). Penalties—Lecavalier, TB (hooking), 3:40; Petersen, Dal (holding stick), 3:40; Malone, TB (holding), 13:59; Smith, TB, served by St. Louis (delay of game), 14:55; Meszaros, TB (cross-checking), 16:27.
Third Period—4, Dallas, Morrow 10 (Benn, Ribeiro), 3:34 (pp). 5, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 17 (Meszaros), 15:06 (pp). 6, Tampa Bay, Halpern 3 (Tanguay, Hedman), 15:53. Penalties—Hale, TB (roughing), 3:17; Skrastins, Dal (interference), 4:07; Tanguay, TB, double minor (high-sticking), 5:56; Grossman, Dal (high-sticking), 13:23; Modano, Dal (tripping), 17:56.
Overtime—7, Dallas, Wandell 4 (Eriksson), 2:12. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Tampa Bay 5-11-12-0—28. Dallas 13-16-7-2—38. Power-play opportunities—Tampa Bay 1 of 3; Dallas 3 of 6. Goalies—Tampa Bay, Smith 4-4-5 (38 shots-34 saves). Dallas, Auld 4-2-2 (28-25). A—17,334 (18,532). T—2:32. Referees—Don Van Massenhoven, Dean Morton. Linesmen—Darren Gibbs, Brian Mach.