TAMPA, Fla. – Vincent Lecavalier earned more than bragging rights over former teammate Brad Richards. He also helped the Tampa Bay Lightning complete a rare late comeback.
Lecavalier scored twice and had an assist, and the Lightning rallied for three goals in the third period to beat Dallas 4-2 on Monday night, their first home win over the Stars in nearly 13 years.
Lecavalier gave the Lightning a 3-2 lead with 5:06 left in the third from the top of the right circle during a power play. Vaclav Prospal had an empty-net goal at 19:11 to make it 4-2.
It was the first time Lecavalier played against longtime friend Richards.
“It was pretty strange,” Lecavalier said. “To play against him tonight was pretty special. It was fun. It was a great two points for us.”
Steven Stamkos pulled Tampa Bay even at 2-2 from the low slot off a pass from Steve Downie at 11:46 of the third.
Tampa Bay is 2-16-4 when trailing after two periods this season.
Lightning right-wing Mark Recchi assisted on Lecavalier’s third-period goal, moving him past Dale Hawerchuk into 17th place on the NHL’s career points list with 1,410.
Richards and Loui Eriksson scored for the Stars, who had their eight-game winning streak at Tampa Bay snapped. It was Dallas’ first loss at Tampa Bay since Feb. 19, 1996.
“I had fun out there until five minutes left in the third, and obviously it was a bad ending,” Richards said.
The loss prompted Dallas players to hold a post-game team meeting.
“It should have never got to 2-2,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “We made two or three errors in our end that got them the tying goal.”
Lecavalier put the Lightning ahead 1-0 on a short-handed goal 1:33 into the first. The Tampa Bay captain has a goal in three straight games, and has 16 points (nine goals, eight assists) over his last 12 games.
The Stars entered as one of three teams – along with Detroit and Philadelphia – that hadn’t allowed a short-handed goal this season.
Lecavalier has 21 goals. He has scored 20 or more in each of his last nine seasons.
Richards, playing against his former team for the first time, tied it 1-1 with a power-play goal 20 seconds after Lecavalier’s goal. Richards, the playoff MVP when Tampa Bay won the 2004 Stanley Cup, was traded to Dallas last February.
The Stars took a 2-1 lead on Eriksson’s goal at 4:19 of the second. Richards picked up an assist on the play.
Mike Smith, obtained by the Lightning in the Richards trade, made 23 saves. The Lightning are 12th in the Eastern Conference.
“We’re fighting to get back in (the playoff race),” Smith said. “It’s just a bonus to beat my former team. That makes it just sweeter.”
Tampa Bay right wing Martin St. Louis had two assists. He has 14 assists and 19 points in his last 12 games.
Dallas, with the NHL’s worst road power play, converted one of seven man-advantage situations. Tampa Bay went 1-for-2.
“I think they had more chances on our power play than we had chances,” Stars defenceman Stephane Robidas said.
The Stars have been outscored 52-31 in the third period this season.
Notes: Dallas is 13-1-2 when leading after two periods. … Lightning RW Evgeny Artyukhin was suspended two games by the NHL for a knee-to-knee hit on Florida D Ville Peltonen last Saturday. … Stars C Mike Modano has not scored a goal in his last six games. He did have an assist Monday. … Tampa Bay claimed D Cory Murphy off re-entry waivers from Florida. He had an assist on Lecavalier’s second goal.