TAMPA, Fla. -- Some NHL games, teams can't buy a goal. This one? It was like a fire sale.

Joe Pavelski's first career hat trick trumped a four-goal performance by Tampa Bay Lightning veteran Martin St. Louis on Saturday as the Sharks overcame a two-goal deficit to skate off with a 5-4 victory.

"We need some character wins," Sharks coach Todd McLellan said, adding later: "When you're on the road like we are, the last game hasn't always been a gem, we'll take it."

Pavelski has notched enough two-goal games over his career -- "What was the count? Twenty-three?" he noted accurately -- that it became part of the postgame banter when he would fall short of a third. When it finally happened, he didn't learn he had the hat trick for more than 20 minutes as the goal was awarded to both Matt Irwin and Brent Burns before going to the Team USA Olympian.

The confusion was understandable as Pavelski himself wasn't sure his stick was the one that tipped Irwin's shot past Lightning goalie Ben Bishop with one minute left in the second period.

"Burnzie was there, their d-men were there, a lot of sticks kind of hit in there," Pavelski said. "Burnzie had it, Mattie had it, we all had it -- it was one of those."

A few hats were thrown on the ice as some San Jose fans inside Times Forum showed their support. But early in the third period, when it was officially awarded to Pavelski, the moment had passed.

"Saw one," Pavelski said of the tribute. "Didn't know if it was premature or not, but it brought me a little luck."

The Sharks needed a little luck after falling behind 4-2 as St. Louis both gave a clinic on how to score on the power play and benefited from some lucky bounces.

All nine goals came in the first two periods with Matt Nieto giving San Jose a 1-0 lead at 9:46 of the first with his second goal in the past two games.

St. Louis got his first to pull the Lightning even a little more than two minutes later on the power play, one-timing a cross-ice pass from the right faceoff circle. Only 56 seconds later, Patrick Marleau regained the lead for the Sharks at 12:52.

Then St. Louis took over, scoring three goals in a span of 6:23 carrying into the second period.

Tampa Bay tied it 2-2 on his second goal when goalie Antti Niemi made the stop on a breakaway, only to have defenseman Brad Stuart poke the puck into his own net. The third St. Louis goal of the night wasn't much cleaner as the puck bounced in off Stuart and defense partner Justin Braun.

St. Louis had his fourth of the night and Tampa Bay had a 4-2 lead 2:07 into the second period with a power-play goal from the exact same spot as his first.

Ten minutes later, Pavelski began carrying the Sharks to their comeback.

San Jose held onto the puck during a delayed penalty call against the Lightning that Pavelski was able to jump on the ice as an extra attacker, take a pass from Tyler Kennedy and fire it past Bishop to make it a one-goal game at 12:48.

Twenty-one seconds later, Pavelski scored again after being knocked to the ice, where he was in control long enough to sweep the puck past Bishop. That made it 4-4, setting the stage for the winning goal that turned into that much-discussed initial hat trick.

The victory gave the Sharks a 3-0 record on their road trip before flying home to face the Calgary Flames on Monday night.

  • Pavelski's was a natural hat trick as all three came in succession; three of St. Louis's goals did the same, marking only the fourth time in NHL history that two occurred in one game. The Sharks were involved the last time with both Jonathan Cheechoo and Edmonton Oiler forward Ryan Smyth getting natural hat tricks Oct. 12, 2006.

  • St. Louis's four goals, which tied a Tampa Bay record set in the franchise's first game, fell one short of the record number given up by the Sharks. Mike Ricci, who was with the Quebec Nordiques at the time, scored five against San Jose on Feb. 17, 1994.

    Follow David Pollak on Twitter at twitter.com/PollakOnSharks.

    monday's game
    Calgary (16-26-6) at Sharks (31-12-6), 7:30 p.m. CSNCA