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Lightning strike late to stun Bruins

VACLAV Prospal's powerplay goal late in the third period gave the Tampa Bay Lightning a shock 4-3 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins on Sunday.

Prospal's goal with 1:33 remaining snapped a four-game losing streak for the Lightning, who are 13th in the 15-team Eastern Conference. Boston, coming off a defeat to the Florida Panthers, lost for the sixth time in seven games.

"If a team like this (the conference leader) coming into our building wouldn't be a challenge for us, maybe we should get a new job," Prospal told reporters after the victory.

The goal came after Boston's Andrew Ference floated a backhander out of the rink and was called for delay of game.

Tampa Bay coach Rick Tocchet said the win may have been a turning point for the Lightning who won for just the third time in 12 games.

"You've got to grasp onto something," Tocchet said. "Maybe this is the game where like a young guy or an older guy or one of your better players grasp on to something where you believe in something."

Elsewhere in the National Hockey League on Sunday, it was: Capitals 5, Penguins 2; Maple Leafs 3, Rangers 2 (in overtime); Wild 2, Blackhawks 1; and Hurricanes 5, Avalanche 2.

In Tampa, Florida, Boston's Phil Kessel opened the scoring, with his 25th goal of the season coming within the first two minutes of the game.

Tampa Bay, however, roared back three minutes later with Jeff Halpern and Adam Hall scoring within 15 seconds of each other.

Boston leveled the score on Ference's powerplay goal with 3:18 left in the first.

Tampa Bay's Mark Recchi broke the deadlock 10 minutes into the second period, only for Zdeno Chara to level it again for Boston five minutes later.

The match stayed locked at 3-3 for the majority of the third period until Prospal scored with a wrist shot following assists by Halpern and Martin St. Louis.

Boston's regular netminder Tim Thomas was rested and replaced by Manny Fernandez who gave up four goals on 18 shots.

The Lightning's Karri Ramo made 40 saves, 15 of which were in the third period.

Boston coach Claude Julien said apart from conceding some bad penalties at crucial times he was not disappointed with the Bruins' performance. "If the effort is like that night after night, I think we'll get back on track," he said.


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