Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Kucherov, Johnson end goal droughts in Lightning win over Sharks

TAMPA ó Lightning coach Jon Cooper said if he were to circle the names of the forwards who continued to work hard during the teamís recent slump, he would draw one around Tyler Johnson.

The goals werenít coming for Johnson, but it wasnít for lack of effort. Because of that, Cooper said, Johnson earned more ice time.

Saturday against the Sharks, effort plus ice time equaled results for Johnson, who snapped a career-high 15-game goal drought with a pair of goals in the Lightningís 5-2 victory at Amalie Arena in front of an announced crowd of 19,022.

"Itís just a matter of time, and (Saturday) it was his time," Cooper said.

It was also time for Nikita Kucherov to break his six-game goal drought with two.

Kucherov, who leads the league with 38 points and is tied with the Capitalsí Alex Ovechkin for the league lead in goals with 19, scored his first of the night 27 seconds into the second period to tie the score at 1.

RELATED: Kucherov scores twice in win over Sharks.

The next two Lightning goals came from Johnson, who last scored Oct. 24 at Carolina.

"Iíd be lying if I said it wasnít tough," Johnson said of his November to not remember. "You just have to keep going.

"The season is a long season. Sometimes things go our way. Sometimes they donít. Every once in a while you get the break. You got to keep working hard and do what you do. You canít really control that much. It was just one of those things that was bound to change, and it changed (Saturday)."

Johnsonís first goal came 1:39 into the third with the Lightning on a power play. Ondrej Palat intentionally shot the puck from the blue line off the end board to the left of the Sharksí net. Johnson caught up to the puck as it bounced back and blasted it past Sharks goalie Martin Jones.

The Lightning has scored a power-play goal in its past six games and 12 of its past 13.

RELATED: Roger Mooneyís takeaways from Saturdayís Lightning-Sharks game.

Johnsonís second goal, at 5:49 of the third, came when he batted in a puck that was cleared off the goal line by Sharks defenseman Brenden Dillon.

"Thatís how hockey goes," Johnson said. "Sometimes you get the chances and the bounces donít go your way, and other times you kind of get those garbage goals that find a way to go in. Lucky for me I was able to find a way to break through.

"The last couple of games I had my chances, and it just didnít go my way. Itís just a matter of time. I just have to keep going. Lucky (Saturday) was the night."

Johnson was moved up to the top line with Steven Stamkos and Vladislav Namestnikov. He was also moved from center to wing.

The change of scenery helped a little, Johnson said.

"It was fun playing with them with the skill that they have," he said.

RELATED: Lightningís slump a reminder season is a roller coaster.

The Lightning (18-6-2), which entered the night with four losses in its previous six games, leads the NHL with 38 points. Cooper said his team played better from start to finish against the Sharks than it had at any point during the 1-3 road trip that ended November.

The Lightning turned the puck over too many times on the road. As a result, it found itself constantly chasing the puck. It was a different story against the Sharks, one that looked an awful lot like the story the Lightning was writing before its slide.

"It was only a matter of time for us," Cooper said.

And for Johnson.

Lightning0145
Sharks1012

First Periodó1, San Jose, Goodrow 1 (OíRegan, Carpenter), 16:58. PenaltiesóNone.

Second Periodó2, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 18 (Point, Palat), 0:27. PenaltiesóDillon, SJ, (interference), 7:58; Killorn, TB, (slashing), 9:01; Thornton, SJ, (high sticking), 19:56.

Third Periodó3, Tampa Bay, Johnson 5 (Sergachev, Palat), 1:39 (pp). 4, Tampa Bay, Johnson 6, 5:49. 5, Tampa Bay, Conacher 2 (Killorn, Gourde), 11:01. 6, San Jose, Braun 1 (OíRegan), 13:37. 7, Tampa Bay, Kucherov 19, 15:37. PenaltiesóNone. Shots on GoalóSan Jose 8-8-11ó27. Tampa Bay 15-16-12ó43. Power-play opportunitiesóSan Jose 0 of 1; Tampa Bay 1 of 2. GoaliesóSan Jose, Jones 10-5-1 (43 shots-38 saves). Tampa Bay, Vasilevskiy 16-4-1 (27-25). Aó19,022 (19,092). Tó2:33. RefereesóBrad Meier, Brian Pochmara. LinesmenóRyan Daisy, Greg Devorski.

     
                                         
Comments
Lightning journal: Vinik pushing for outdoor game

Lightning journal: Vinik pushing for outdoor game

As he sat back in his chair facing the stands in the middle of the two benches, Lightning owner Jeff Vinik could not help but remember the first time he sat there.A young Steven Stamkos sat next to him as he spoke in front of a crowd of about 30 peop...
Published: 09/24/18
Lightning journal: Roster trimmed to 28

Lightning journal: Roster trimmed to 28

TAMPA – After Sunday morning, the Lightning sat five cuts away from having a 23-man roster to start the regular season.It cut its training camp roster by 27, leaving 28 players on the roster with the start of the regular season less than two we...
Published: 09/23/18
Lightning forward prospect Boris Katchouk putting together strong preseason

Lightning forward prospect Boris Katchouk putting together strong preseason

TAMPA — As the end of training camp looms, there's no clear-cut answer as to how the Lightning will fill the one, maybe two open forward spots in its lineup.It could go with Adam Erne. Spending much of his time in AHL Syracuse the past three se...
Published: 09/22/18
Lightning journal: ĎNo-riskí forward pickup; another preseason win; Fan Fest on Sunday

Lightning journal: ĎNo-riskí forward pickup; another preseason win; Fan Fest on Sunday

TAMPA — It didn't take long for Lightning GM Julien BriseBois to decide he wanted to put a waiver claim in Friday.Not when he saw that F Danick Martel was available."He's a player we have had on our radar for a while, going back to actually his...
Published: 09/22/18
Lightning journal: Adam Erne looks to stick in Tampa

Lightning journal: Adam Erne looks to stick in Tampa

Forward Adam Erne flicks the puck into the net, but he has no time to celebrate.He flips around. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Snow flies off his skates. Erne then squares his body as he arrives in the defensive zone, steps away from the net.Within a secon...
Published: 09/21/18
Lightning falls to Hurricanes again in preseason

Lightning falls to Hurricanes again in preseason

The Lightning did not fare much better in its second preseason crack at the Hurricanes.In fact, it did worse.It lost 6-1 Wednesday in Raleigh, N.C.Carolina put a much more veteran team on the ice than it did Tuesday in winning Tampa Bay's preseason o...
Published: 09/19/18
Second-round pick Gabriel Fortier among Lightningís early cuts

Second-round pick Gabriel Fortier among Lightningís early cuts

One round of cuts down, several more to go.The Lightning cut seven players on Wednesday, five of whom were training camp invitees, the team announced. All seven players were assigned to juniors.Gabriel Fortier was the most notable cut. The Lightning'...
Published: 09/19/18
Lightning journal: Can Mathieu Joseph sneak his way onto the opening-day roster?

Lightning journal: Can Mathieu Joseph sneak his way onto the opening-day roster?

It remains to be seen if F Mathieu Joseph will make the Lightning's roster. If he doesn't, it certainly won't be because of a lack of opportunities.Joseph saw time on the Lightning power play and penalty kill on Tuesday at Amalie Arena when Tampa Bay...
Published: 09/19/18
Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Hockey News poll: Lightning favored to win Stanley Cup, other awards

Falling just short of winning a championship the past few seasons has done nothing to erode fans' confidence in the Lightning.Not just locally, but also nationally and across Canada.The Lightning is the runaway favorite to win the Stanley C...
Published: 09/19/18
Lightning journal: Alex Killornís just puttiní on the Fitz

Lightning journal: Alex Killornís just puttiní on the Fitz

TAMPA — How big is FitzMagic? It has hit the Lightning, too.Proving that Harvard guys stick together, Lightning forward Alex Killorn showed support for fellow Harvard grad Ryan Fitzpatrick by, sort of, dressing up the way Fitzpatrick did after ...
Published: 09/19/18