TAMPA — With Steven Stamkos out indefinitely with a broken right tibia, the Lightning has to make up about three-quarters of a goal per game, coach Jon Cooper figures.
It's an easy calculation. Stamkos had 14 goals in 17 games, which means he scored about three-quarters of a goal per game.
"But it's not, 'Who is going to score that extra goal we're missing?' " Cooper said. "We have to keep that extra three-quarters of a goal out of our net."
In its 5-1 victory over the Ducks on Thursday night in front of an announced crowd of 17,763 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the Lightning put on a textbook exhibition of how to do that.
Against the top team in the Western Conference, Tampa Bay, 14-5-0 and No. 1 in the East, played keep-away with the puck. Intense back pressure from the forwards also allowed defensemen to have good gaps on the opponent, which made it difficult for Anaheim to get through the neutral zone.
Even when Anaheim did make it to the offensive zone, it had little sustained pressure and few Grade A chances.
Despite being outshot 25-20, including 25-14 in the final 46 minutes, the Lightning was in total control.
"We managed the game," Cooper said. "When we started rolling in the offensive zone, we passed on some shots, no question. But I'm not down on our guys for that at all. We built our lead and didn't want to give it up."
Valtteri Filppula was a catalyst, with two goals and three points. Marty St. Louis had three points, including his first goal in eight games. Alex Killorn and Victor Hedman also scored, and goaltender Ben Bishop got his league-best 12th win with 24 saves, including six during a first-period penalty kill that preserved a 1-0 lead.
"We earned it," St. Louis said. "We skated. Our puck possession was good. We got our D involved, and you end up attacking with five and defending with five, which is a lot easier."
The defense-first message has been Cooper's since training camp. But with Stamkos out indefinitely, it has been turned up a notch. And in the two games Stamkos has missed, both wins, Tampa Bay allowed a combined two goals.
It also produced on Thursday a prime example of how defense leads to offense. Filppula pickpocketed Rickard Rakell, which caused a holding penalty. Filppula then scored on the power play for a 3-0 second-period lead.
"All-around, a pretty good game," Filppula said. "We're forced to play well without (Stamkos). We have the confidence we can do it."
First Period—1, Tampa Bay, Filppula 7 (Purcell, Carle), 11:52. 2, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 8 (Brown, Filppula), 16:25 (pp). Penalties—Maroon, Ana, major (fighting), 9:31; Crombeen, TB, major (fighting), 9:31; Johnson, TB (tripping), 13:14; Winnik, Ana (holding), 15:49; Allen, Ana, major (fighting), 19:54; Malone, TB, major (fighting), 19:54.
Second Period—3, Tampa Bay, Filppula 8 (Hedman, St. Louis), 3:16 (pp). 4, Tampa Bay, Killorn 5 (St. Louis, Barberio), 10:51. 5, Anaheim, Etem 5 (Fowler, Beauchemin), 16:07. Penalties—Rakell, Ana (holding), 1:31; Selanne, Ana (roughing), 13:29; Gudas, TB (roughing, holding), 13:29; Palmieri, Ana (high-sticking), 14:55; Palat, TB (charging), 15:25.
Third Period—6, Tampa Bay, Hedman 3 (Panik, Johnson), 2:05. Penalties—Lovejoy, Ana (roughing), 5:29; Panik, TB (boarding), 5:29. Shots on Goal—Anaheim 8-9-8—25. Tampa Bay 8-10-2—20. Power-play opportunities—Anaheim 0 of 3; Tampa Bay 2 of 2. Goalies—Anaheim, Hiller 7-3-1 (20 shots-15 saves). Tampa Bay, Bishop 13-2-0 (25-24). A—17,763 (19,204). T—2:31. Referees—Brad Meier, Kelly Sutherland. Linesmen—Greg Devorski, Bryan Pancich.