The last time Simon Gagne returned to NHL action after missing time with an injury, he scored an overtime game winner to help the Philadelphia Flyers begin an improbable comeback from a 3-0 series deficit against the Boston Bruins.
Gagne once again showed an impressive “sense of the moment” after missing more than a month of action as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning by scoring (wait for it …) an overtime game winner in his first game back.
Gagne also earned an assist tonight, a welcome sight because he went his first six games with the team without a single point before succumbing to injury issues.
He wasn’t the only reason the Lightning ended up with two points, though, as Martin St. Louis played a huge role in the team’s victorious rally. The two teams traded goals (Kris Versteeg for the Leafs; Ryan Malone for the Lightning) and then Toronto raced to a 3-1 lead thanks to Nikolai Kulemin. St. Louis showed that he isn’t just there to feed sweet passes to the Steve Stamkos Sweet Spot™ by scoring the next two goals, including the tally that sent the game to overtime with only nine seconds left in the third period.
The great effort by St. Louis opened the door for Gagne to score in overtime, as the talented sniper opted to shoot rather than pass on a 2-on-1 to win the game for Tampa Bay. (You can see that goal in the video clip at the bottom of this post.)
Jonas Gustavsson shouldn’t take too much of a beating for this loss, as he stopped 35 out of 39 shots while Dan Ellis earned the win despite a puck handling gaffe, only needing to stop 22 out of 25 shots.
Tampa Bay remains second in the Southeast and currently rests at fifth place in the conference as of this writing. Toronto finds themselves with 20 points, tied with Florida for the third worst record in the East.