TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Captain Vincent Lecavalier scored two
goals to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 4-2 victory over the
Dallas Stars on Monday.
Lecavalier added an assist to help Tampa Bay do something it has
not accomplished in some time - beat Dallas at home.
Dallas had not lost in Tampa since February 19, 1996 - winning
eight straight road contests over the Lightning in that span.
The Stars have outscored Tampa Bay by a 24-10 margin over that
The Stars looked like they were on their way to another win in
Tampa, holding a 2-1 lead in the third period. But rookie
Steven Stamkos netted the equalizer with 8:14 to play and
Lecavalier gave the Lightning the lead with a power-play tally
just over three minutes later.
Vaclav Prospal capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with 49
Lecavalier opened the scoring just 93 seconds into the game with
a shorthanded goal. On a breakaway, Lecavalier skated in on
goaltender Marty Turco and beat him between the pads for his
20th goal of the season.
"I got pretty lucky," Lecavalier said. "I was alone from before
the blue line to their net. He left me a little bit of an
opening between his legs and I took advantage of it."
Lecavalier's former teammate, Brad Richards, evened the score 20
seconds later with a power-play goal from the slot.
"We let them hang around and obviously they've got firepower.
You let them hang around and eventually they're going to kill
you and that's what happened," Richards said. "We've got to
start backing up games or it's going to start being too late.
"I had fun out there until five minutes left in the third.
Obviously it was a bad ending. It was a fun time to come back,
but the bigger picture is that we really wanted to win the game,
not just because it's them. But we need points right now and we
threw them away again when we had a lead."
Loui Eriksson scored his career-best 22nd goal of the season in
the second period to give Dallas a 2-1 lead, but the Stars could
not make it hold up.
After Stamkos tied the game, Lecavalier took a pass from Cory
Murphy and one-timed a high blast from the right circle that
beat Turco and put the Lightning ahead for good.
"Murphy made a great play, a touch pass. It was a smart play,"
Lecavalier said. "He got it to me right away, if you wait a
second, it can be too late. He put in a perfect spot."
Mike Smith made 23 saves for Tampa Bay, which had won four of
its last six.
"This was one of the most mentally and emotionally draining
games I think I've played, other than the one when I was traded
here," Smith said. "It felt surreal out there. I was kind of
nervous to start the game. We go the job done and that's the
most important thing."
Turco made 16 saves for the Stars.