Monday, February 19, 2018
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning gets second straight comeback win (w/ video)

TAMPA — There's no panic on the Lightning bench when it falls behind.

"A calm demeanor," rookie forward Brayden Point said. "You look at the guys in this room, I don't think you're ever really out of a game."

It's not a surprising trait, considering Tampa Bay is a veteran club coming off back-to-back lengthy playoff runs.

But captain Steven Stamkos said that maybe it is too confident in its comeback ability. Tampa Bay pulled off another one Saturday, overcoming a two-goal first-period deficit for the second straight game for a 3-2 victory over the Devils at Amalie Arena.

"You don't want to make a habit of that," Stamkos said. "We can't wait to get down to give us a kick in the pants to get going."

Said forward Valtteri Filppula: "Not going to work in the long run."

Having strong goaltending helps, and backup goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy might have been Tampa Bay's best player Saturday, showing why he'll get a larger share of starts this season. After giving up two goals in the first five minutes, both on deflections, Vasilevskiy settled in for a sparkling 32-save performance. The biggest save came when a sprawling Vasilevskiy got his left skate on a shot by Devils wing Beau Bennett that would have made it 2-0 just over two minutes in.

"My groin is sore just watching that replay," Stamkos said. "But that's a game-saver."

VASILEVSKIY REBOUNDS: After a poor first period, the goalie shuts down the Devils in his first start of the season.

Vasilevskiy gave Tampa Bay (2-0-0) a chance to win, and its deep offensive attack once again took over. Like Thursday, when the Lightning fell behind the Red Wings 2-0 eight minutes into its opener, Tampa Bay came alive in the second period. Stamkos got his first goal of the season, set up by linemates Jonathan Drouin and Ondrej Palat. Three minutes later, Alex Killorn tied it.

"You're not going to stifle that team for very long," Devils goalie Cory Schneider said.

Said Devils wing Kyle Palmieri: "That's a team that knows what it takes to win."

The Lightning's nine goals this season have come from seven skaters, all four lines represented. It is an encouraging sign for a team that became top-heavy in the playoffs last season, losing in the Eastern Conference final to the deeper Penguins.

"That's what helps teams win in the playoffs," Stamkos said. "When you look down your lineup and see guys capable of producing on all four lines, and we can roll them, that's nice to know."

POINT MADE: The Lightning was right to break with recent history to keep first-year pro Brayden Point.

The Lightning also needed a little luck, and it got it when a potential go-ahead goal by Devils defenseman Andy Greene late in the second was overturned on a coach's challenge; wing Mike Cammalleri was ruled offside on the zone entry. "Obviously it was a turning point in the game," Stamkos said.

Filppula said his winner, a deflection of a Jason Garrison point shot five minutes into the third, was aided by Devils forward Travis Zajac cross-checking him in the back. "I've got to thank him," Filppula said.

The Lightning should be thankful to be 2-0-0.

"The big joke in our staff room was 'A two-goal lead was the hardest lead to protect,' " Cooper said. "But then somebody else said, 'How would we know? We've never had one.'

"Clearly not ideal to go down two. But the boys found a way."

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First Period1, NJ, Palmieri 1 (Moore), 0:52. 2, NJ, Zajac 1 (Parenteau), 4:26. PenaltiesCammalleri, NJ, (cross checking), 12:55.

Second Period3, TB, Stamkos 1 (Drouin, Palat), 7:53. 4, TB, Killorn 2 (Kucherov, Johnson), 10:07. PenaltiesPalat, TB, (roughing), 1:46; Stamkos, TB, (holding stick), 13:32; Wood, NJ, (tripping), 17:56.

Third Period5, TB, Filppula 2 (Point, Garrison), 5:43. PenaltiesSmith-pelly, NJ, (delay of game), 0:14; Brown, TB, (roughing), 7:22; Cammalleri, NJ, (roughing), 7:22; Sustr, TB, (hooking), 14:39; Stamkos, TB, (high sticking), 20:00. Shots on GoalNJ 13-12-9—34. TB 13-9-12—34. Power-play opportunitiesNJ 0 of 3; TB 0 of 3. GoaliesNJ, Schneider 0-1-1 (34 shots-31 saves). TB, Vasilevskiy 1-0-0 (34-32).

 
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