Nils Ekman had a natural hat trick, scoring three straight goals late in the second period for Pittsburgh. The Penguins have gained at least a point in seven of their last eight games.
Lecavalier had a breakaway on Marc-Andre Fleury after Martin St. Louis found him with a long pass from the Tampa Bay end to near the Pittsburgh blue line. It was the second assist of the game for St. Louis, who has a 10-game point streak.
Sidney Crosby and Sergei Gonchar each had two assists for the Penguins, who have lost five in a row at Mellon Arena to the Lightning.
Ekman’s goals came at 15:37, 18:19 and 19:47 of the second period against Tampa Bay goalie Johan Holmqvist.
The four minutes, 10 seconds between goals represented the shortest period of time for one player to score three goals in Penguins’ history. The previous record was held by Lowell MacDonald, who had three in 4:17 of a 5-2 win against Minnesota on Nov. 13, 1973.
Dimitry Afanasenkov scored the game’s first goal with 6:02 to play in the opening period when he deflected in a shot from the point by Nikita Alexeev from the right circle.
Brad Richards made it 2-0 Tampa Bay with a power-play goal, his fourth, midway through the second period. While standing in the right-wing corner, Richards attempted a centring pass to Alexeev that was blocked by the Penguins but bounced right back to Richards near the goal mouth. He slammed it past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
Five and a half minutes later, Ekman’s first goal made it a 2-1 game when he scored from the slot on a pass from Crosby, who had received the puck in the low right-wing circle during a delayed penalty from Gonchar.
Ekman’s second came 2:42 later when he deflected in a Ryan Whitney shot from the point while standing to the right of Holmqvist while on the power play.
With 13 seconds to play in the period, Ekman finished a three-on-two when he redirected in a fine pass from Crosby.
It was the first career hat trick for Ekman, who entered the game with two goals on the season.
Eric Perrin tied the game at three less than five minutes into the third period when he finished a pass while at the right of Fleury from Ryan Craig, who was behind the net.
Notes: Tampa Bay had scored five goals in each of their previous three contests. … St. Louis has 10 goals and seven assists during his points streak. … Before Ekman’s goals, the Lightning had outscored opponents 26-9 in the second period of games this season. … Tampa Bay, which entered the game the third-least penalized team in the league, killed two of three Pittsburgh power plays. The Lightning entered the game with a road penalty-killing percentage that ranked tied for 28th in the league.