Monday, July 16, 2018
  • Lightning Strikes

Power play rebounds in win at Panthers

C Steven Stamkos said the Lightning wanted to get back to playing Monday like it had during the nine-game run where it won eight times and earned a point in the other game, and that is scoring on the power play.

That nine-game run, of course, was interrupted by a 4-1 home loss to the Ducks, where the Lightning were 0-for-4 on the power play while allowing the Ducks two goals on their two power plays.

"Special teams, it can win you and lose you games," Stamkos said. "(On Saturday) it lost us a game. It's nice to get back on the board. This was a game we wanted to get back to what made us successful (in those nine games)."

The result was an 8-5 victory against the Panthers that snapped a five-game losing streak at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.

"Any time you win the special teams war you're giving yourself a better chance to win," coach Jon Cooper said. "We didn't win it against Anaheim, but we won it (Monday) and that was a big part of helping us win."

Against the Panthers, the Lightning was 2-for-5 on the power play, getting goals from Stamkos and Yanni Gourde. It now leads the league with 16 power play goals. It is second in the league in power play production at 30 percent.

Just as important, it killed off all three of the Panthers power plays.

"It was the biggest difference from the last game against Anaheim," D Victor Hedman said. "We were playing slow. We were not executing plays. (Monday) was a big difference."

High five

The Lightning allowed five goals for the third time this season, though the first time in a win.

No one is complaining, though.

"Regardless of the five goals given up, I didn't really feel like it was one of those games where we were poor defensively," Stamkos said. "A couple of tough bounces, but I thought it was a good rebound game (from Saturday)."

G Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 18 of 23 shots for a .783 save percentage to win his NHL-best 10th game of the season and extend his winning streak to a career-long nine, tying John Grahame (2005) for the longest winning streak by a goalie in franchise history.

"This is when you have to win games when he's going to sit there and say he probably didn't have his best stuff tonight, but more often than not he's our best player every single night," Cooper said. "I felt it was good for us to be able to pick Vasy up, because he's normally not giving up five. But as we tell our goaltenders the biggest stat you can ever have is winning games."

Slap shots

The Lightning (10-2-1) has the best record in the Eastern Conference and is tied with the Blues (10-2-1) for the best record in the league … The Lightning is 7-1-0 when leading after the first period … Tampa Bay returns to action Thursday against the visiting Rangers.

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