TAMPA, Fla. – On a night when Steven Stamkos scored his NHL-leading 42nd goal, the Tampa Bay Lightning broke out of a puzzling offensive funk before finishing off the Chicago Blackhawks with a little pizzazz.
Martin St. Louis scored in regulation, then delivered the shootout winner in a 4-3 victory that ended a season-high four-game losing streak.
The six-time all-star spun in front of the net, set himself and fired the puck past goalie Corey Crawford for the only goal by either team in the shootout.
“I find I have more success when I go have fun with it. I feel like if I try to keep it simple, I beat myself,” said St. Louis, who used similar moves during the NHL’s SuperSkills competition in January.
“I was just thinking about the all-star game. There is no pressure, and I just got out there and did some funky stuff … and I got a good result. I was trying to do something similar to that.”
Teddy Purcell also scored for the Tampa Bay (38-21-8), helping build a 3-1 lead before the Stanley Cup champions roared back on goals by Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews.
Dwayne Roloson made 28 saves for the Lightning, then stopped Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa in the shootout.
“It’s a huge win,” St. Louis said. “We’ve been playing pretty good hockey, we just haven’t gotten the results. … This time of year, it’s all about results.”
The loss was the second straight for Chicago (37-24-7) following a season-best eight-game winning streak.
Stamkos got Tampa Bay off to a fast start with just his second goal in the last 13 games. St. Louis ended a four-game drought to break a 1-1 tie before Purcell put the Lightning up 3-1 with his first goal in seven games.
It was just the second time in 10 games that the Lightning, who fell out of first place in the Southeast Division during its four-game skid, scored more than two goals.
The Blackhawks were resilient after falling behind, but Lightning coach Guy Boucher felt his team was, too.
“I congratulated them because there’s a big difference between being scared to lose and acting on it and being hungry to win,” Boucher said. “That’s an attitude, and it’s not just in regulation time. It’s not just in overtime. It’s in the shootout, too. You’ve got to push, and if you fail, you fail.”
A poor first period cost the Blackhawks in a 3-2 loss to Florida that stopped Chicago’s winning streak on Tuesday night. The Panthers scored three early goals against Crawford, who gave up three more in the first 22 minutes against Tampa Bay.
Kane scored in the opening period for Chicago. Sharp’s 34th of the season pulled the Blackhawks to 3-2. Toews, who had a nine-game points streak stopped against Florida, had assists on the Blackhawks’ first two goals and tied it 3-all with 16:30 remaining in regulation.
“It’s tough because we worked really hard to get back in that game,” Toews said.
“We were down by two and they had a lot of things going for them early in the game,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “I thought we chipped away and did what we had to do. It would have been nice to get two (points) at the end.”
NOTES: The Blackhawks lost at Tampa Bay for the first time since December 2005. They had won three straight against the Lightning. … Chicago D Brian Campbell was scratched because of a lower body injury. C Dave Bolland left the game with an upper-body injury and did not return. … Lightning RW Steve Downie and D Randy Jones were out with ankle injuries.