By Mark Didtler Associated Press
The Clinton Herald
---- — TAMPA, Fla. — Radko Gudas was able to joke after being center stage in what both coaches called a crazy ending.
The Tampa Bay defenseman had a puck go off him late in the third and then assisted on Martin St. Louis’ goal 1:16 into overtime as the Lightning beat the Chicago Blackhawks 6-5 on Thursday night in the NHL.
Chicago’s Jonathan Toews was credited with a game-tying goal with 1:49 left in the third after the Lightning put the puck into their own net.
Tampa Bay defenseman Matt Carle sent the puck from the neutral zone back into the Lightning defensive zone, where it went off Gudas and past a stunned goalie Ben Bishop into the net.
“I didn’t think the first (goal) of the season was going to be like that,” said Gudas, who hasn’t scored a goal this season. “It bounced right in front of me, hit my (stick) shaft, my ankle and went straight in.”
Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said it seemed as if the goal took place in slow motion.
“There’s been some crazy goals the last year and a half, and that’s one of them,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville added.
St. Louis got the game-winner from in-close, with Gudas getting his second assist of the season on the play.
“Obviously, that makes it a little better,” Gudas said. “We got the win after all, even if something like that happens.”
St. Louis, the Tampa Bay captain, also had an assist and moved past Neal Broten (923) for 93rd place on the career points list with 924.
Bishop stopped 38 shots.
Steven Stamkos scored a tiebreaking power-play goal as Tampa Bay (6-3-0) went up 5-4 at 17:31 of the third.
Stamkos finished with two goals and two assists. Carle, Nate Thompson and Victor Hedman had the other Tampa Bay goals.
The Lightning have beaten the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks twice this season. Tampa Bay rallied from a 2-0, third-period deficit for a 3-2 shootout win in Chicago on Oct. 5.
“You look at the game that we stole in Chicago ... I don’t think we stole tonight’s,” Cooper said.
Chicago (6-1-3) also got goals from Bryan Bickell, Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw. Kane assisted on Shaw’s goal, giving him five goals and 15 points in eight games against Tampa Bay.
Chicago took a 4-3 lead 93 seconds into the third on Shaw’s in-close power-play goal. It was the first time the Blackhawks have scored during the third period since opening night.
Hedman’s first goal in 41 games tied it at 4 at 11:03 of the third.