TAMPA — Consider the Lightning's 4-3 victory over the Canucks on Monday a teachable moment.
Tampa Bay won its third straight game, something it had not done since Jan. 19-25, and finished what coach Jon Cooper called a "great" homestand at 3-1-2 with eight of a possible 12 points and points in five straight games.
But the Lightning (37-24-7), in front of a sellout crowd of 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, also nearly blew two three-goal, third-period leads.
That is not necessarily a crisis. But considering the team went through a recent stretch in which it lost eight leads in seven games, it cannot be overlooked.
"We had a couple of hiccups," defenseman Mike Kostka said, "and we'll look at the video to clean those things up. But the most important thing is it didn't cost us the two points. We'll learn from it.
"It's always nice when you can learn after you get the win."
For most of the game, the Lightning was dominant with goals from Steven Stamkos, on the power play, Ondrej Palat, Valtteri Filppula and Tom Pyatt.
And because the team played the right way — with structured defense, puck control and winning battles — there was no shame that second-period goals by Palat and Filppula, with 8.1 seconds left, that gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead heading into the third period deflected in off Vancouver defenseman Ryan Stanton.
"When a team is doing the right things, you will get those breaks," Cooper said.
Add a 25-save effort from goaltender Ben Bishop, and there was plenty to like about the game, which started after a 10-minute ceremony to honor the 10th anniversary of the 2003-04 Stanley Cup championship.
But after Pyatt's goal made the score 4-1 8:47 into the third period, Alexandre Burrows scored off a scramble to make it 4-2 with 8:16 left. Jannik Hansen's shorthanded goal — on a breakaway after Burrows stole Filppula's pass at the Canucks blue line — made it a one-goal game with 4:44 left.
"There's things we have to fix in the third period," right wing Ryan Callahan said.
"The playoffs are around the corner. You have to expect teams are going to throw everything at you, and you have to be prepared for that."
That said, Cooper called the issues "fixable," and added, "It's just little tactical things. Sometimes, it's work smarter not harder, and we got caught in that a little bit."
Bottom line, Stamkos said, they won the game and are back in second place in the Atlantic Division.
"We lost leads and lost games," he said.
"This time, we're holding on and finding ways to win."
Damian Cristodero can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @LightningTimes.
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 16 (Palat, Callahan), 17:56 (pp). Penalties—Gudas, TB (tripping), 13:47; Kassian, Van (tripping), 16:48.
Second Period—2, Tampa Bay, Palat 18 (Carle), 6:54. 3, Tampa Bay, Filppula 22 (Stamkos), 19:51. Penalties—H.Sedin, Van (roughing), 5:27; Gudas, TB (roughing), 5:27; H.Sedin, Van (hooking), 12:17; Filppula, TB (hooking), 13:17; Kassian, Van (slashing), 17:14.
Third Period—4, Vancouver, Burrows 4 (Bieksa, Edler), 5:44 (pp). 5, Tampa Bay, Pyatt 3 (Brown, Hedman), 8:47. 6, Vancouver, Burrows 5 (Jensen, H.Sedin), 11:44. 7, Vancouver, Hansen 11 (Burrows), 15:16 (sh). Penalties—Pyatt, TB (goaltender interference), 5:36; Edler, Van (tripping), 13:30. Shots on Goal—Vancouver 7-8-13—28. Tampa Bay 10-13-7—30. Power-play opportunities—Vancouver 1 of 3; Tampa Bay 1 of 4. Goalies—Vancouver, Lack 12-14-4 (30 shots-26 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 32-11-6 (28-25). A—19,204 (19,204).