TAMPA — As soon as Lightning defenseman Andrej Meszaros entered his locker room Saturday night, he was playfully doused with a water bag by center Zenon Konopka.
But that's how the Lightning treats a game's No. 1 star.
And for the first time this season, that was Meszaros.
He scored in the opening moments of overtime to cap an improbable but encouraging come-from-behind 2-1 win against the Calgary Flames at the St. Pete Times Forum.
"We got the two points, and that's all that matters right now," he said, smiling.
The Lightning (25-21-11) not only surpassed its win total from last season but improved its position in the Eastern Conference by moving from eighth to seventh.
Perhaps most important, Tampa Bay found a way to win against a team that rarely squanders leads. The Flames were an astounding 23-1-2 when leading after two periods, and, on this night, they were up 1-0.
"That was one of the toughest games for a grind-it-out game," Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said. "Calgary didn't give us very much. They played a playoff-style game, and they were on top of us pretty good."
Though the Flames (29-21-9) played Friday against Florida and lost two forwards early, they limited the Lightning to just 10 shots through the first 40 minutes.
How bad did it get for the home team?
Well, the Lightning had a power play in the closing minutes of the second period and Calgary had not one but two different chances at a shorthanded goal that brought cascades of boos from the announced crowd of 15,859.
Were it not for another strong game from goaltender Antero Niittymaki, the Lightning's dominance at home of late (it's 9-1-2 in its past 12 in Tampa) might have ended there.
But the Lightning tapped into some energy reserves after the intermission. It helped that center Steven Stamkos, falling down, managed to backhand a follow shot past goalie Miikka Kiprusoff to tie the game just one minute into the third.
"The whole bench was energized and right from there, the next shift, the next shift," Tocchet said. "It was nice there in the third, it seemed everybody did something to contribute."
In the overtime, it was Meszaros' turn.
"In the first period, I had a two on two and I kind of rushed it," he said. "After the first (period), Rick told me just to hang on a little bit and slow down my skating. (On that play) I tried to go around the side and I fumbled the puck but I still got it and just shot it."
It bounced in for the winner at the 1:58 mark.
"I'm happy it went in," he said, "but if anybody else had scored I would have been happy too."
First Period—1, Calgary, Giordano 10 (Glencross), 15:44 (pp). Penalties—Foster, TB (tripping), :33; Bouwmeester, Cal (holding), 1:50; Mayers, Cal (roughing), 5:20; Konopka, TB (roughing), 5:20; Sarich, Cal, minor-major (hooking, fighting), 7:58; Fedoruk, TB, major (fighting), 7:58; Ohlund, TB (slashing), 10:18; Iginla, Cal (high-sticking), 11:14; Smaby, TB (interference), 14:12; Kotalik, Cal, major-game misconduct (fighting), 16:45; Veilleux, TB, served by Konopka, minor-major (cross-checking, fighting), 16:45.
Second Period—None. Penalties—Pardy, Cal (interference), 1:55; Regehr, Cal (interference), 16:04.
Third Period—2, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 32 (Smaby, St. Louis), 1:00. Penalties—None.
Overtime—3, Tampa Bay, Meszaros 5 (Downie), 1:58. Penalties—None. Shots on Goal—Calgary 11-9-5-1—26. Tampa Bay 5-5-12-1—23. Power-play opportunities—Calgary 1 of 4; Tampa Bay 0 of 5. Goalies—Calgary, Kiprusoff 26-17-9 (23 shots-21 saves). Tampa Bay, Niittymaki 15-9-5 (26-25). A—15,859 (19,758). T—2:25. Referees—Dennis LaRue, Brian Pochmara. Linesmen—Pierre Champoux, Vaughan Rody.