There are 60 minutes in a hockey game and until that horn sounds, teams must never, ever quit.
The Tampa Bay Lightning fully realize that, which is why they were victorious on Saturday afternoon.
Despite trailing the Florida Panthers 5-3 in the third and final period, the Lightning never quit. The Bolts went on the man advantage, where goal-scoring machine Steven Stamkos blasted a one-timer past Jose Theodore, making it a one-goal contest. Then, with a tad over 10 seconds left in regulation, Stamkos battled for the puck behind the net, threw a backhand pass out in front, where Teddy Purcell was left wide open in the slot, making no mistake.
Tie game going into overtime.
Just one minute and nineteen seconds into the extra period, the puck bounced off of the boards and found the stick of Benoit Pouliot, who lit the lamp to finish the comeback. It was his second goal of the game.
“I was surprised it came back in front,” Pouliot said. “I just put my head down and went to the net. It made a weird bounce and came back out to me and I just put it in. Coming out of here with a big win like this; it’s going to be huge for us.”
The win was absolutely huge for the Lightning, having lost their last six games heading into Saturday’s battle against their fellow Florida club. Tampa Bay never quit, and Stamkos is hoping this is the start of something new for his teammates and himself.
“We never quit,” Stamkos said. “That’s never a question and never will be a question and we showed it again tonight. We finally got a bounce our way on the overtime goal. Hopefully, this sparks some momentum and will help us moving forward.”
Stamkos is starting the 2013 campaign right where he left off from 2012, tying for second in the league with 21 points.
Saturday’s come-from-behind win was exactly the spark that the Bolts needed (see what I did there?) to get on a roll and chase the Carolina Hurricanes for the Southeast Division crown.
Adam Pfeifer is a Senior Columnist covering the NHL for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.