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by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
Martin St. Louis scored twice, including the overtime winner as the Tampa Bay Lightning came from behind to defeat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Thursday night.
Click here for a boxscore of tonight's game FIRST PERIOD
The Oilers came out strong early in the first, but the Lightning quickly found their legs and countered. Less than five minutes into the game, Oilers goalie Jeff Deslauriers made his first save on Steven Stamkos, but the rebound went out to Ryan Malone, who lifted it over the desperate goalie to score the first goal of the game.
At the period's midway point, the Oilers took a bench minor for too many men, but Kurtis Foster erased his team's powerplay with a slashing penalty, followed shortly after by Matt Walker for holding. Edmonton used the man-advantages to assume a 6-4 shot lead but were stifled in the goal department by netminder Mike Smith.
In the period's dying minutes, Edmonton's Ryan Stone was sent to the sin bin, and Tampa went back on the powerplay. Although Deslauriers turned away one shot, the second -- a slapper courtesy of Martin St. Louis -- tucked under the crossbar to give Lightning a 2-0 lead.
Tampa Bay carried its two-goal lead and 8-6 shot advantage to the second period.
The Oilers and Lightning traded penalties within the first minute of the second period, triggering 1:44 of four-on-four. Despite the opened up ice, the best scoring chance for both teams belonged to Ethan Moreau, who dismayed Oilers fans in the crowd by ringing the puck off Smith's crossbar.
The Oilers assumed control of the shot clock as the period progressed, but the attempts failed to make it to the scoreboard until the final five minutes of the frame. At that time, Sam Gagner threaded a pass to Robert Nilsson, who redirected it past Smith to get the visiting Oil back within one.
Three minutes later, Andrew Cogliano closed the gap. The speedy forward skated up the ice, split the defencemen, and completed a textbook backhander to tie the game at two heading into the third period.
The Oilers broached 20 shots early in the final frame, but the Lightning countered with a pair of excellent chances that Deslauriers matched with excellent saves. With mometum and strong goaltending on their side, the Oilers grabbed another slice of scoring.
After snagging the puck in the neutral zone and skating up the left wing, Gilbert Brule slipped the puck to surging defenceman Tom Gilbert, who surprised Smith from the mid-slot and gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead, their first of the game.
Edmonton came within seconds of closing the game with a win, but a late goal by Tampa's Kurtis Foster tied the game at three. Although the Oilers were gifted a late powerplay thanks to a delay of game penalty to the Lightning, the club was unable to secure a game-winner in regulation and was forced to continue the effort in overtime.
A couple minutes into the extra frame, Lukas Krajicek took an interference penalty to give Edmonton a good chance to end it on the powerplay in OT.
Edmonton had a few chances with the extra man but were unable to convert. The Lightning then got a powerplay chance with 10 seconds left in the game.
Tampa made the most of its opportunity as Martin St. Louis scored in the dying seconds to give the Lightning a 4-3 victory.