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Lightning come back again, defeat the Dallas Stars in crucial game

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The “Who Are These Guys?” tour continued for the Tampa Bay Lightning Sunday night, although playoff positioning continued to elude them.

The Lightning came from behind to beat the Dallas Stars, 6-3, scoring four times in the third period. However, the Bolts remained three points behind Ottawa for the final wild-card berth and three behind Toronto for third place in the Atlantic Division.

The Bolts need to make a move quickly. They have four games left, three of them on the road.

“It just comes down to our season and that was it,” Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. “That was the discussion in the room was, ‘Do you want to give yourself a chance to play past next Sunday?’ So, if you don’t, then play the way we did in the second. If you do, play the way we did in the third. Get a couple good breaks.

“We really pushed. I think the end of our second period, that last five minutes, we really pushed. Obviously caught a big break on the offside call. If we go down two, it’s a little higher climb back. I thought we really carried some momentum there. We scored and it kind of pushed us into the third period. I thought we had a really good first 13 or 14 minutes in the third. Then we took the penalty and they scored and then we were a little bit on our heels after that. But that response in the third, the guys showed their will and it paid off.”

Tampa Bay came from behind for the seventh time in their last eight wins.

Adam Erne scored twice for Tampa Bay. Braydon Coburn, Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat and Anton Stralman all scored for the Lightning.

“Well, we’ve needed them, in just different ways,” Cooper said. “You’ve got to be really happy for Adam Erne who’s been chipping away, chipping away, chipping away and doesn’t really have any points to show for it. He makes a really strong move to the net for the first goal and just threw a puck at the net for the second and it went in for him. He deserved his breaks tonight. The Yanni Gourde’s, you go down the list of the guys that have really helped us out, but you look at that secondary scoring that you need.

“We needed that. Then in the end when we needed that third period, the big line was huge, especially led by Palat. I thought he was a man child out there in the third.”

Palat had a goal and two assists. Goaltender Peter Budaj won his first game in net for the Bolts, stopping 23 shots.

The Lightning opens its last road trip of the season, a three-gamer, in Boston on Tuesday.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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