PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Penguins coach Dan Bylsma wanted his team to play a tight, low-scoring game against Tampa Bay on Saturday, figuring it’s what the Metropolitan Division leaders are likely to see when the postseason begins next month.
“That’s a game we’ve got to be comfortable playing,” Bylsma said.
Of course the Penguins are pretty good when the defense loosens up too. They gave Bylsma a bit of both in a 4-3 overtime win over Tampa Bay on Saturday.
James Neal’s searing slap shot over Anders Lindback’s right shoulder 1:27 into overtime capped a frantic final 15 minutes of play as the teams traded the lead three times. Neal’s power play goal extended Pittsburgh’s winning streak over the Lightning to nine straight.
Evgeni Malkin had two goals and two assists — including the setup for Neal’s winner — while Sidney Crosby added a goal and two assists for the Penguins. Jeff Zatkoff stopped 21 shots as Pittsburgh snapped Tampa Bay’s season-best five-game winning streak.
“I think we realize we’re playing some good teams and it’s important for us to make sure we have that desperation and find that level of play that we want going into the playoffs,” Crosby said. “I think that’s motivation enough.”
Steven Stamkos, Valtteri Filppula and Ondrej Palat scored for the Lightning, who have recorded at least one point in eight straight games.
Flyers 4, Blues 1
PHILADELPHIA — Philadelphia has gone from a team fighting for a playoff spot to one of the NHL’s most dangerous contenders.
Scott Hartnell and Brayden Schenn both scored in the second period, and the Flyers rallied to beat Western Conference-leading St. Louis for their fifth straight win.
Jakub Voracek and Wayne Simmonds added goals in the third period, and Steve Mason made 32 saves to help Philadelphia improve to 12-2-1 in its last 15 games and maintain its hold on second place in the Metropolitan Division.
“I think we showed the league we can play with everyone and we can beat everybody,” Voracek said. “It’s going to give us some more confidence.”
Red Wings 3, Wild 2
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Gustav Nyquist’s third-period goal gave Detroit a victory over Minnesota, the team’s fourth in the last five games.
Jimmy Howard made 28 saves, and Brendan Smith and David Legwand each scored on a power play for the Red Wings, who were in a 2-for-25 slump with the man advantage until getting goals on both of their opportunities against the Wild.
Mikko Koivu gave the Wild an early lead, on a power play, and Charlie Coyle tied the game on a penalty shot. But the Wild, clinging to a wild card spot in the Western Conference race, fell to 2-3-4 in nine games since the trade deadline.
Stars 3, Senators 1
DALLAS — Trevor Daley and Jamie Benn scored third-period goals to help Dallas rally for a victory over Ottawa.
Dallas snapped a four-game losing streak (0-3-1) and sent the Senators to their sixth consecutive defeat (0-5-1), tying Ottawa’s longest skid this season.
Jordie Benn had two assists for the Stars. Cody Eakin had tied the game with a second-period goal. Kari Lehtonen made 26 saves in his second game since returning from a head injury.
Erik Karlsson scored for Ottawa in the first period.