TAMPA—The gang's all here. The Lightning's stars all showed up on the scoresheet and Tampa Bay made it easy on itself for the first time in weeks.
Steven Stamkos, Brayden Point, Yanni Gourde and Nikita Kucherov (twice) all scored and Andrei Vasilevskiy was great on the other end.
"You have to have that quiet confidence that you know, if you play the right way, it's going to be difficult for other teams to compete with you," Stamkos said after Tuesday's 5-2 win over Edmonton. "When we skate, and compete and execute like we did tonight, for the most part, we're going to give ourselves a good chance to win."
Stamkos and Kucherov got the party started with a play that could have turned into either one's goal. Stamkos passed to Kucherov, who passed to Stamkos, who landed a shot over goalie Mikko Koskinen's glove at 4:40 of the first period. J.T. Miller hung around the net, on hand in case of a rebound, but wasn't called on (he got his goal later)
It was just what the Lightning needed.
The Lightning scored the first goal for the first time in five games, since the Oct. 26 win over Vegas. Players and Jon Cooper had talked about the need to get a better start but they hadn't been able to figure it out.
Tampa Bay had found ways to climb back out of the hole in three of those five games (coming back twice to beat Ottawa and from a two-goal deficit against New Jersey), but they certainly made it hard on themselves.
"There's no way we could keep going not scoring goals first," coach Jon Cooper said. "I haven't been worried about our team, it's just tough when you're chasing the game all the time. It's much easier to win when you're chasing the game all the time."
Seven Lightning players came into the game in the double-digits for points. All seven got on the scoresheet, and four of them scored.
Point had the second goal of the night, inside the final minute of the first period, when he cleaned up the rebound of Yanni Gourde's shot. He is playing above a point-per-game pace with 19 points and nine goals.
After Edmonton cut the deficit to one, Gourde got it back, tipping Ryan McDonagh's shot from the point. Kucherov scored his first late in the second, wristing a nice shot past Koskinen and then added one more in the third with a rocket that deflected off Koskinen's pad and dribbled through his legs.
"We have a lot of talented players in this lineup," Gourde said. "When Kuch and Stammer can find each other, it's very fun to watch. All four lines have been good all year."
Gourde is also right about Kucherov and Stamkos. The dynamic duo feed off each other and the whole team responds. They didn't start the season together, then hooked up on a couple of power-play goals and made a bid to be reunited.
"We always just try to create room for each other out there," Stamkos said. "If we can two-on-one someone, or give-and-go, obviously we've developed that chemistry. It was nice to have a couple nice plays tonight."
Gourde is also right that all four lines have been good (the Lightning has only played one clunker, back against Arizona), but they haven't all been good at the same time in a while.
Cooper called it a confidence builder for the team's scorers to have a game like this where everyone scores, especially when you get a run going.
The Lightning are deep—that it has seven players with more than 10 points through 16 games shows that—and are very tough if they can all click at once.