TAMPA – It had been 10 games since Nikita Kucherov scored a goal for Tampa Bay, and two games since he had even logged a point. But coach Jon Cooper wasn’t too concerned.
“I don’t worry about Kuch,” Cooper said Saturday night.
And no one had to worry about him any longer as he stole not one, but two goals off of the Lightning-Panthers matchup Sunday night.
“We knew it was a matter of time,” Cooper said Sunday night, “but it was a big one for us.”
Kucherov’s opening goal put the Lightning on the board early in the first period, notching his 23rd goal of the season.
It only seemed appropriate for the All-Star to bookend the night with a 5-on-3 unassisted power play goal that sealed the 5-2 win in Sunrise, Florida.
Here are some odds and ends from the win:
An emotional night for Ryan Callahan. It was a heartwarming moment to see the pure elation and joy on Callahan’s face as the veteran logged his third goal in the last eight games he has played.
Louis Domingue sets new franchise record. The backup goaltender has made a name for himself all season long, however, he made Lightning history Sunday night after he secured his 10th-straight win as a starting goalie. He has now set a new franchise record for the longest win streak.
Point, point, point. With Brayden Point’s power play goal Sunday night, he’s now tied with Boston’s David Pastrnak for the most power play goals in the NHL so far this season with 15.
Steven Stamkos finds the back of the net early. It was only the second shot of the period, but that didn’t stop Stamkos from logging his 29th goal of the season. Sprinting down the ice, Stamkos passed it off to Anton Stralman and made his way around Florida’s Aaron Ekblad before taking back the puck from Stralman and tipping it into the open net. The goal put Tampa Bay up 2-0 halfway through the second period.
Lightning sweep Panthers in series. Sunday’s 5-2 win secured a series sweep for the Lightning over the Panthers. On Nov. 21, the Lightning demolished the Panthers at home 7-3 and took home another win on Dec. 1 as the Lightning defeated the Panthers in overtime 5-4 on the road.
Making history with 20+ wins at home and 20+ on the road. With Sunday’s win, the Lightning are now the third team in NHL history to split 40+ wins on the road and at home, all in its first 56 games of the season. Tampa Bay joins the Detroit Red Wings (who accomplished this in 2007-08) and the Washington Capitals (who logged this in 2015-16) in this record.
Injury update. Ondrej Palat is day-to-day after he was scratched just before Sunday night’s game with an upper-body injury.
Contact Mari Faiello at [email protected]. Follow @faiello_mari.