TAMPA, Fla. -- There must be something about Tampa Bay that brings the best out in Sidney Crosby.
The Penguins center posted his eighth career hat trick in helping Pittsburgh to a 5-4 victory over the Lightning on Saturday night in front of 18,939 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
In doing so, Crosby extended his point streak against the Lightning to six games. During the streak, he has seven goals and six assists.
"I think at this point you know there are some things that are going to come quicker than others and timing and execution, that stuff usually takes some games to get used to," said Crosby, who now has five goals this season. "I think just forcing yourself to go to the front of the net and keep your feet moving and do all the little things that give you success throughout the rest of the year, I think that's what you want to concentrate on early on in the season."
After Alex Killorn evened the game at 4-4 during a Lightning power play with a little more than three minutes left in regulation, the Penguins benefited from a tripping penalty on Lightning winger Richard Panik with 57 seconds left to play. Crosby then found Paul Martin, who passed to defenseman Matt Niskanen near the blue line. Niskanen then sent a slap shot over Lindback's right shoulder for the win.
"We went to the two defensemen a couple different times on the power play and that allows us to have that one-time shot from the weak side. I think that was probably the third or fourth shot of the game that he got off from there and it was timely for us," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.
After Crosby tied the game early in the third period, his third goal of the night gave the Penguins a 4-3 lead at 10:26 in the third period when he took a pass from behind the Lightning goal line and sent a slap shot past Tampa Bay goalie Anders Lindback.
"Their shots were hitting sticks and going into the net," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said when asked if the Lightning did not put enough shots on goal. "I didn't think the ice was tilted at all."
With the four points, Crosby raised his season total to nine points, including two previous goals and three assists. In doing so, Crosby now has points in his first five games of the season, the longest such streak since recording one in the first six games of his rookie year at the beginning of the 2005 season.
"His hat trick goal was huge for us tonight," Bylsma said. "I love the response and leadership from our team coming out in the third period and the first shift and getting that huge play, getting into the offensive zone and getting the goal to tie the game."
After a slow start to the game in which the Lightning held a 1-0 lead following the first period on Valtteri Filppula's fourth goal of the season, the two teams combined for four goals in the second period.
During a power play early in the second period, Crosby's rebound on a slap shot by Jokinen evened the score, but Lightning center Steven Stamkos finished a nifty passing play from Victor Hedman to Martin St. Louis to give the home team the lead just three minutes later at 5:11 in the period. Less than two minutes later, Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik scored his first goal since Nov. 21, 2011 when he re-directed a shot by Pascal Dupuis past Lindback.
Teddy Purcell then gave the Lightning its last lead at the 15:42 mark of the second period when he scored a power play goal off a slap shot by Sami Salo.
"I don't think anyone can watch the game and sit here and say that they outplayed us," Cooper said. "I thought it was a heck of a hockey game."
NOTES: The Penguins outshot their opponent for the fourth straight game, finishing with 26 shots on goal versus 18 by the Lightning...It took Orpik 111 games to register another goal since his last one in 2011...In an odd scenario during the power play goal by Killorn, Stamkos was helped off the ice by a linesman after one of his skates was de-bladed on a check into the boards...St. Louis, who has recorded points in four straight games for the Lightning...Lightning LW Ryan Malone and Penguins RW Craig James dropped their gloves and fought four seconds into the game. ... Malone received a 10-minute misconduct penalty 1:34 into the second period. ... Lightning D Mark Barberio and D Keith Aulie both were healthy scratches...Lightning G Cedrick Desjardins, who was recalled from the Syracuse Crunch to serve as a backup to Anders Lindback on Friday, was re-assigned to Syracuse following Saturday's contest.