Remember when Lightning wing Tyler Johnson couldn't buy a goal?
It wasn't that long ago, actually, that Johnson was mired in the longest goal-drought of his career (15 games).
But that seems like ancient history now with Johnson snapping that slump and going on a seven-game points streak, the longest of his career. He has 12 points in the Lightning's seven game-winning streak heading into Tuesday's game against Las Vegas.
"Those guys that are used to getting points, they just don't lose it overnight," coach Jon Cooper said. "There are sometimes when you get streaky and points pile up, and times where you're a little bit cold. It's not so much about the points, are you doing the right things? Normally, when you are, usually the points come and you get rewarded. That's what he's doing."
Throughout Johnson's drought, he remained encouraged because he felt like he was getting the chances. He hit three points in a three-game stretch on the Lightning's previous road trip. Tampa Bay went 1-3 on that trip, but Johnson might have been one of the team's best players.
Cooper moved Johnson to right wing to start the following homestand Dec. 2 against San Jose. Johnson had two goals and five shots, taking off from there. Johnson has been really dynamic on the right side with Brayden Point and Ondrej Palat. Johnson has multi-point games in five of his last seven.
"Before, I was getting chances and they weren't going in, those things happen now and then," Johnson said. "I'm playing with some really good players helping me out, getting some confidence and things are bouncing, working our way. Just got to keep on doing that."
Cooper pointed out how Johnson has improved on decision-making in the offensive zone. Take his assist in St. Louis last Tuesday, patiently circling the Blues net before finding an open Point in the slot.
"I think the big thing is the confidence," Johnson said. "Knowing I can hold onto it for a second longer, find something better. When you're feeling it, things are going right, knowing where your linemates are going to be. That all builds off each other."
Other notes: The Lightning cancelled its morning skate today, the final day of a nine-day, four-game trip. G Andrei Vasilevskiy is expected to start tonight against the Golden Knights. Crazy that former Lightning goaltender Michael Leighton has been traded again, to Pittsburgh from Arizona (Tampa Bay traded Leighton last month to the Coyotes for Louis Domingue)… During the Lightning's seven-game winning streak, the Lightning has a plus-seven goal differential in the third period. D Mikhail Sergachev is already one goal shy of the franchise record for goalies by a rookie defenseman (Pavel Kubina, 9, 1998-99); Sergachev has nine points in his last 10 games (three goals, six assists), Tampa Bay winning every game he has a goal (7-0). Another gem of a stat from STATS, Nikita Kucherov has 51 goals, 52 assists (103 points) in his last 82 games, dating back to last year. Kucherov has 20 even-strength goals, three off his total from last season.