PITTSBURGH (AP) Michael Bunting snapped a tie with 5:28 left in the third period, and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4 on Saturday.

Referee Steve Kozari was taken off the ice on a stretcher after colliding with Lightning defenseman Haydn Fleury 6:11 into the third period. Kozari was able to move his arms. Fleury did not return.

“That was tough to watch," Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. "But (Fleury), I went into the locker room during that pause. Naturally, he was a little shook up. It was just one of those plays that was kind of a freak accident. But hopefully, both guys will be OK.”

Evgeni Malkin had two goals and an assist for Pittsburgh, and Bunting also had two assists. Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang also scored.

Penguins goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic made 30 saves in his eighth straight start.

“We hung in there," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "Tampa’s a really good team. They have one of the more dynamic offenses in the league. ... I give our players credit. We hung in there.”

Pittsburgh (36-30-11) posted its fourth straight win and improved to 6-0-2 in its last eight games overall. It is fighting with Philadelphia, Washington and Detroit for the second wild card in the Eastern Conference.

The Lightning (43-27-7), who clinched a playoff berth Friday when the Flyers, Capitals and Red Wings lost in regulation, had won 10 of their previous 12.

Steven Stamkos scored twice for Tampa Bay, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 23 stops. Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman each had three assists.

Bunting scored his 18th goal on a backhand from just outside the slot. Bunting was acquired in a March trade with Carolina.

Tampa Bay trailed 4-1 before rallying in the third. Nicholas Paul scored his 23rd goal 25 seconds into the period. Anthony Duclair cut the deficit to 4-3 at 7:23, and Stamkos tied it 4 with his second one-timer on a power play at 10:45.

“A case of too little, too late," Stamkos said.

Crosby put the Penguins in front when he scored his 40th goal of the season 4:20 into the first period, finishing a 2-on-1. Bryan Rust held the puck long enough to avoid a block attempt from a sliding Darren Raddysh before finding Crosby for a backhand at the left post.

“I think what we have to do hasn’t changed for a while now," Crosby said. "So, our game has been pretty good and we’ve just got to continue to go a game at a time here."

Malkin’s 24th goal made it 2-0 at 6:06 of the second. After Stamkos scored with 7:45 left in the period, Letang snuck a snap shot through Vasilevskiy from the point and Malkin made it 4-1 with his sixth goal in six games, a wrist shot on his own rebound from outside the crease with 3:03 remaining.

The Lightning dressed 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Forward Anthony Cirelli was sidelined with an undisclosed injury after he got hurt during Thursday’s 7-4 win over Montreal.


Lightning: Host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday.

Penguins: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday.


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