TAMPA — Marty St. Louis is 35 years old. But don't tell that to Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy, 26, whom the Lightning wing left in the dust Wednesday night.
The burst of speed helped St. Louis score the winning goal in a 5-3 victory at the St. Pete Times Forum as the team scored four unanswered goals to overcome a two-goal first-period deficit.
"We were there," said St. Louis, who broke a 3-3 tie 6:40 into the third period.
"You just have to keep pushing because we battled back. You don't want to waste the battling. We did that. We played the game tonight."
St. Louis certainly did as the Lightning (6-2-1), with 13 points, tied the Canadiens atop the East.
His three-point game included an empty-net goal with 30.8 seconds left. He tied a career best with nine shots on goal and had two takeaways.
There were others.
Dana Tyrell scored his first NHL goal. Teddy Purcell's first of the year, with 3:20 left in the first period, made it 3-2, and Vinny Lecavalier's five-on-three tally tied it 8:43 into the third.
Steven Stamkos had three assists, and goaltender Dan Ellis made 24 saves after entering with 7:45 left in the first period to relieve Mike Smith, who allowed three goals on seven shots.
But it was St. Louis who broke the game open, leaning past a scrambling Lovejoy and beating sprawling goalie Marc-Andre Fleury high.
"The puck just really moved quick," said St. Louis, who has five goals and 12 points. "It went from (Stamkos) to (Steve Downie) to me. All the passes were dead on, and I was able to take advantage of it."
"He's one of the best players I've ever played with," Ellis said. "He's got such great character, and his speed, he's one of the fastest players in the league."
The victory made moot a bunch of miscues.
Two short-handed goals allowed in 61 seconds of the first period on one penalty kill, both on two-on-ones and caused by players being too deep in the offensive zone, were brutal.
Tampa Bay was 0-for-6 on five-on-four power plays, hit at least three posts, and Sean Bergenheim was stopped by Fleury on a second-period penalty shot with the score 3-3.
But the team was 5-for-5 on the penalty kill, blocked 20 shots and tightened on defense to outshoot the Atlantic-leading Penguins 12-9 in the third period.
"Whether we're trailing by one, two, three, we're coming back," coach Guy Boucher said. "That's a trademark we have to have. We want to believe when nobody else does.
"This was guys battling to make it happen."
Led by St. Louis.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Tyrell 1 (Thompson, Kubina), 2:51. 2, Pittsburgh, Adams 1 (Cooke, Orpik), 3:28 (sh). 3, Pittsburgh, Cooke 2 (Letang, Adams), 4:29 (sh). 4, Pittsburgh, Dupuis 2 (Adams, Crosby), 12:15. 5, Tampa Bay, Purcell 1 (Kubina, Ritola), 16:40. Penalties—Dupuis, Pit (holding), 3:18; Adams, Pit (tripping), 10:04; Lovejoy, Pit, minor-misconduct (roughing), 14:05; Bergenheim, TB (interference), 14:05; Downie, TB, minor-misconduct (roughing), 14:05.
Second Period—6, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 3 (St. Louis, Stamkos), 8:43 (pp). Penalties—Comrie, Pit (tripping), 1:08; Dupuis, Pit (interference), 7:40; Kunitz, Pit (high-sticking), 8:18; Stamkos, TB (tripping), 10:52; Vernace, TB (roughing), 13:16; Goligoski, Pit (interference), 15:12; Purcell, TB (tripping), 19:03.
Third Period—7, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 4 (Downie, Stamkos), 6:40. 8, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 5 (Stamkos), 19:29 (en). Penalties—Kunitz, Pit (slashing), 1:20; Hall, TB (interference), 8:34. Missed Penalty Shot—Bergenheim, TB, 13:51 second. Shots on Goal—Pittsburgh 12-10-9—31. Tampa Bay 8-11-12—31. Power-play opportunities—Pittsburgh 0 of 5; Tampa Bay 1 of 7. Goalies—Pittsburgh, Fleury 1-4-0 (30 shots-26 saves). Tampa Bay, Smith (7-4), Ellis 2-2-1 (12:15 first, 24-24). A—17,226 (19,758).