Adam Erne scored twice and Ondrej Palat added a power-play goal and two assists as the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Dallas Stars 6-3 on Sunday night.
Brayden Point scored the go-ahead goal in the third period to break a 2-2 tie, and Braydon Coburn and Anton Stralman also had goals for Tampa Bay. Backup Peter Budaj made 23 saves to help the Lightning move within three points of the idle Ottawa Senators, who hold the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Gemel Smith, Jason Spezza and Brett Ritchie scored for Dallas, and Esa Lindell assisted on all three goals.
Erne opened up the scoring at 11:47 in the first. Erne, who had just one goal entering the game and hadn’t scored since March 3, added a power-play goal in the third.
Never miss a local story.
Sign up today for a free 30 day free trial of unlimited digital access.
Dallas answered quickly in the second with Smith’s goal less than two minutes into the period.
Smith nearly had a short-handed goal after that, but it was overturned on an offside call after a Lightning challenge and official review. Dallas did take the lead at 10:57 in the second when Spezza scored his 14th of the season. Spezza also assisted on Smith’s goal.
With just 18 seconds left in the second, Tampa Bay tied it on Coburn’s goal with assists from Stralman and Palat, who has 32 assists this season.
Point’s tie-breaking goal was his 14th of the season, while Palat’s power-play goal was his 17th.
Ritchie scored Dallas’ third goal late in the third. Stralman had an empty-netter with 2 seconds remaining.
▪ Tampa Bay C Steven Stamkos, out since right knee surgery in November, did not play Sunday and remains day to day.
▪ Lightning C Tyler Johnson returned Sunday after sitting out 11 games with a lower-body injury.
▪ Lightning D Jason Garrison returned after missing four games due to a lower-body injury. Garrison would later leave during the second intermission with another lower-body injury.
▪ Stars LW Patrick Sharp missed his fifth game with a hip injury.
▪ Stars LW Antoine Roussel missed his 15th game with an upper-body injury.
Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram
Stars: Wrap up the season with a three-game homestand, beginning with Arizona on Tuesday.
Lightning: Begin a three-game road trip, starting with a key game at Boston on Tuesday.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Erne 2 (Sustr, Gourde), 11:27.
Second Period—2, Dallas, Smith 3 (Spezza, Lindell), 1:49. 3, Dallas, Spezza 14 (Klingberg, Lindell), 10:57. 4, Tampa Bay, Coburn 4 (Stralman, Palat), 19:42.
Third Period—5, Tampa Bay, Point 14 (Dotchin, Palat), 5:43. 6, Tampa Bay, Palat 17 (Kucherov, Drouin), 13:27 (pp). 7, Tampa Bay, Erne 3 (Namestnikov, Johnson), 14:37. 8, Dallas, Ritchie 15 (Shore, Lindell), 16:40. 9, Tampa Bay, Stralman 5, 19:58.
Shots on Goal—Dallas 9-7-10—26. Tampa Bay 8-6-11—25. Power-play opportunities—Dallas 0 of 1; Tampa Bay 1 of 2. Goalies—Dallas, Lehtonen 21-24-7 (24 shots-19 saves). Tampa Bay, Budaj 30-21-3 (26-23). A—19,092 (19,092). T—2:37. Referees—Steve Kozari, Tim Peel. Linesmen—Scott Driscoll, Matt MacPherson.