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Lightning survives wild third to edge Oilers

Give the Lightning credit lots of it.

Playing its third game in four nights and second in two after a 3,200-mile plane ride from Tampa to Vancouver, the Lightning earned a satisfying, though jittery, 3-2 victory over the Oilers Thursday at Rexall Place.

Vinny Lecavalier had a goal and an assist and Brad Richards got the winner as part of a two-goal second period that broke a tie at 1.

Pavel Kubina scored in the first to tie, and goalie John Grahame made 26 saves to win his fifth start in his past six as the Oilers had a 28-22 shot advantage.

"It was one of those games, got a little ugly," Richards said. "Some timely scoring and battling at the end and John Grahame comes up big. It was one of those games that brings a team together."

The blemishes were Brad Isbister's tally 29 seconds into the game on the game's first shot. And Radek Dvorak's goal with 9:49 left in the third period that cut Edmonton's deficit to one.

The Oilers threw everything they could at the Lightning in the third period, outshooting it 15-9, but Grahame held his ground.

Tampa Bay has three points in the first two games of its four-game road trip, including Wednesday's overtime loss to the Canucks. Its 53 points, the most in franchise history after 47 games, are four ahead of the second-place Thrashers in the Southeast with two games in hand.

Isbister scored on a fluke goal in the first period in which Edmonton's famous fast ice played a part.

Isbister scored on a one-timer from the slot on the game's first shot. But that came after Dvorak circled the Lightning net and tried to fire a backhander that slipped off his stick.

The Lightning answered at 4:08 on a marvelous goal by Kubina. The defenseman took a pass from Martin St. Louis and stickhandled down the slot and past Isbister and Igor Ulanov and scored on a backhander past goalie Tommy Salo. It was Kubina's eighth goal and broke his 21-game stretch without one.

Tampa Bay had a four-minute power play after Ulanov was called for high-sticking St. Louis. But the team could not capitalize.

The Lightning took a 3-1 lead in the second period, held the Oilers without a shot for the first 9:23 and outshot them 9-8.

Lecavalier put the Lightning ahead with 9:39 left on a pretty goal that salvaged a broken play. Defenseman Dan Boyle made a nice rush from the defensive zone but the puck fell off his stick. Lecavalier picked it up, avoided Alexei Semenov and flicked a backhander past Salo. It was Lecavalier's 14th goal and first in nine games.

Richards made it 3-1 with 2:34 remaining with a snap shot off a nice feed from Edmonton native Chris Dingman. The goal preempted what would have been a penalty on Georges Laraque for punching Martin Cibak in the back of the head.

Grahame preserved the 2-1 lead with a dazzling three-save sequence. He stopped Raffi Torres in front of the net 8:28 into the period, Dvorak in front of the net eight seconds later and Eric Brewer's shot from the blue line 14 seconds after that.

Dvorak made it 3-2 with his tap-in that came during a slow Lightning change and after Dvorak beat defenseman Nolan Pratt to the front of the net.

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