Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning defense steps up in win over Hurricanes (w/video)

RALEIGH, N.C. — Having the top two scorers in the NHL has put much of the spotlight on the Lightning’s offensive prowess, but Tuesday’s 5-1 win over the Hurricanes showed how far Tampa Bay’s defense has come.

The Lightning (8-1-1) has its most points ever in the standings after 10 games — one more than the 16 it had in 2002-03 — and goalie Andrei Vasilev­skiy has allowed two goals in his past three games.

Tampa Bay survived a tense third period with a 2-1 lead, pulling away only when Carolina (3-3-1) pulled its goalie early and Vladislav Namestnikov scored an empty-net goal with 2:33 remaining. Ryan Callahan added a second power-play goal, his first of the season, with 1:20 left, and Nikita Kucherov added a goal with four seconds left, his 11th of the season.

"We had a really disappointing third period," coach Jon Cooper said. "We had that game in complete control after two, we weren’t really giving them much. You have a two-goal lead and we came out and gave it to our goaltender and said, ‘You win this one for us.’?"

Tampa Bay opened the season allowing 15 goals in the first four games, but that defense has clamped down, allowing 10 in the past six. The Lightning penalty-kill unit went 4-for-4 as well.

The Lightning got a second-period goal from red-hot rookie Mikhail Sergachev, who has four in his past three games. His score came on an assist by Steven Stamkos, who has a point in all 10 Lightning games, one short of the team record to start a season set by Marty St. Louis in 2009.

Vasilevskiy, who had 30 saves, lost the shutout early in the third. He survived a slew of shots that left him sprawling, but Carolina reset the puck to Jaccob Slavin, who scored his second goal of the season with 16:32 left.

"It was pretty much a fire drill after that," Cooper said. "We played with fire a little bit tonight. We got away with it, but we can’t continue to have third periods like that."

Carolina dominated much of the third, outshooting the Lightning 8-2 early in the period but unable to tie the score. Vasilevskiy is now 8-1 on the season, having played all but one game.

Kucherov, who came in tied for the NHL lead in goals with 10, nearly failed to score a point for the first time this season, but his goal with four seconds left extended his streak to match Stamkos’.

Tampa Bay came in not only 7-1-1 on the season but 7-1-1 in its past nine games in Raleigh, including a 1-0 overtime loss last year. Having two days off did nothing to slow the Lightning, which came in leading the NHL in points and tied for the lead in goal differential (plus-12).

Carolina controlled much of the opening period, but the Lightning killed off two power plays then got its first with 2:30 left on a holding call. With five seconds left in the power play and 35 seconds left in the period, Tampa Bay got on the scoreboard as Tyler Johnson poked in a rebound on an Ondrej Palat shot, his fourth goal of the season.

The Lightning now comes home for two straight.

Comments
Lightning plays the waiting game

Lightning plays the waiting game

TAMPA — Had Boston closed out Toronto on Monday, Game 1 of the Lightning-Bruins series would have been tonight. Instead, the Lightning returned to the ice Tuesday still awaiting its opponent for the conference semifinals that begin later this w...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Bruins … Leafs … doesn’t matter. Lightning’s got this

Bruins … Leafs … doesn’t matter. Lightning’s got this

TAMPA — The Bruins and Maple Leafs play Game 7 Wednesday night in Boston.Let them.Let them beat each other's brains in for all the Lightning care. Let it go to overtime. Let it go to six overtimes. Lightning players and coaches will be watching...
Updated: 2 hours ago
How the Lightning did its best work on the Devils short-handed

How the Lightning did its best work on the Devils short-handed

TAMPA — The Lightning rolled past the Devils in five games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs quarterfinal series largely because the penalty kill became a beast, killing off 16 of 19, including the final 15 when down a man.Two of those three goals al...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bruins’ Brad Marchand: ‘You have to be willing to do anything … in order to win’

Bruins’ Brad Marchand: ‘You have to be willing to do anything … in order to win’

Brad Marchand might be the ultimate pest, but he's not the original.Not even in his own family.The Boston Bruins left wing writes in a first-person story published last week in The Players' Tribune that he got his inspiration from his younger br...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning wait goes on: Leafs top Bruins to force Game 7

Lightning wait goes on: Leafs top Bruins to force Game 7

TORONTO — Frederik Andersen made 32 saves as the Maple Leafs defeated the Bruins 3-1 to force a Game 7 in their first-round playoff series Monday night.William Nylander, Mitch Marner and Tomas Plekanec, into an empty net, scored for the Leafs, who tr...
Updated: 11 hours ago
The key to the Lightning’s success

The key to the Lightning’s success

This is quite the run the Lightning is on over the past five years.A playoff appearance in 2014. A trip to the Stanley Cup final in 2015. A return to the Eastern Conference final in 2016. A near-miss of the postseason last season. And now back in the...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Lightning Round 2 playoff tickets on sale Monday

Single-game tickets for the Lightning's Eastern Conference semifinal series go on sale to the general public at 1 p.m. Monday at nhl.com/lightning/tickets. The Lightning plays the winner of the Bruins-Maple Leafs series. Game 6 of that series is Mon...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

Lightning has answer for Devils and David Puddy

You knew those who work the scoreboard for the Lightning games at Amalie Arena would have an answer Saturday during Game 5 to the Devils using David Puddy during Game 4 at the Prudential Center. Puddy meets Homer Simpson. Actually, Puddy met Terry ...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

Andrei Vasilevskiy and the universal language of playoff hockey

TAMPA — As usual, Andrei Vasilevskiy didn't speak in front of the cameras after the game. He has been like that since he hit the NHL. He still isn't comfortable with his English on TV.But Vasilevskiy spoke loudly and clearly in the first-round ...
Published: 04/22/18
Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Devils: Grading Tampa Bay’s clinching 3-1 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Closers.That's what the Lightning looked like as it closed out the New Jersey Devils in five games with a 3-1 win Saturday.Nikita Kucherov's star power blazed again, the defense controlled the game and not even Jersey goaltend...
Published: 04/21/18
Updated: 04/22/18