Lightning hand Penguins another overtime loss

| Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, 10:42 p.m.

TAMPA, Fla. — When the NHL announced the implementation of three-on-three overtime this season, the Penguins had to figure it might be a jackpot for them.

All that talent with all that open ice in front of them?

It hasn't worked out that way, though. Not lately, anyway.

Vladislav Namestnikov completed his hat trick 2 minutes, 11 seconds into overtime to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 5-4 win over the Penguins on Friday night.

The Penguins have suffered overtime losses in three of their past five games. The Lighting have won four in a row.

“It's not going to get us close to the teams that are winning,” winger Chris Kunitz said. “We have to get better in games like this and feel that urgency and not give up that late goal.”

On the overtime goal, Nikita Kucherov took a shot from the outside that hit Namestnikov in front. He quickly pushed it past Marc-Andre Fleury, who is becoming less and less of a fan of three-on-three play.

“It's frustrating,” he said. “It's a little bit more of a team game than a shootout, but it can go either way.”

The overtime goal came after a wild final 10 minutes of regulation.

Kunitz gave the Penguins a 4-3 lead, taking a pass at the top of the left faceoff circle and wiring a shot to the top corner inches from the right post and inches from the crossbar with 6:12 to go.

Tampa Bay's Anton Stralman tied it less than two minutes later, hitting the top corner on a spinning backhand shot with 4:39 left.

“I was not happy to let the fourth one in,” Fleury said. “At least it's a point, but we've got to start winning games.”

The Penguins trailed for much of the game after running into serious penalty problems in the second period, starting when Matt Cullen was called for hooking Steven Stamkos at 7:45 and Eric Fehr was penalized for hooking Ondrej Palat off the ensuing faceoff 4 seconds later. About a minute after that, Cullen was sent off for cross-checking Anton Stralman.

In addition to giving a talent-rich power play plenty of time to work, including two lengthy two-man advantages, the Penguins had to try to fend it off with two of their best penalty killers in the box.

“That was really tough,” Fehr said. “They go five-on-three for two minutes like that, it's really tough to kill.”

They could not.

Valtteri Filppula scored 23 seconds into the first five-on-three, and Namestnikov tipped in a shot 7 seconds before the sequence of power plays ended to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead.

“We have to find a way to stay out of the penalty box,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “We cannot give a team with that much firepower extended five-on-threes like that and back-to-back kills.”

The Penguins clawed back to tie the score with one goal in the second period and another in the third.

Patric Hornqvist finished off an Evgeni Malkin pass from behind the net with 5:37 to go in the second.

Midway through the third, after Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy lost his stick making a save on Phil Kessel on a two-on-one, Malkin made a cross-ice pass to Trevor Daley at the left dot for a goal that made it 3-3.

“I loved our fight,” Sullivan said. “I loved our determination. I thought we played hard tonight. I thought we played with a lot of fire. Things didn't go our way. We end up in the penalty box for a lot of second period, but we stayed with it.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter at @BombulieTrib.

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