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Lightning-Red Wings: Observations from Tampa Bay’s 5-4 win

Tampa Bay notched five-straight goals in its comeback game of the season.
Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Detroit. Tampa Bay won 5-4. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Tampa Bay Lightning's Nikita Kucherov celebrates his goal against the Detroit Red Wings in the third period of an NHL hockey game, Thursday, March 14, 2019, in Detroit. Tampa Bay won 5-4. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Published Mar. 15, 2019

TAMPA – The saying goes that most things (or events) come or happen in threes.

But that wasn’t really the case for the Lightning as it notched not three, but five-consecutive goals in the comeback game of the season against the Detroit Red Wings Thursday night.

The night ended in the Lightning’s favor with a 5-4 win, notching the franchise’s 15th-straight regular season win over the Red Wings.

Things made a turn for the worst for Tampa Bay just four minutes into the third period, putting the Lightning down three goals to a program it has defeated in its last 14 matchups.

It wasn’t until Steven Stamkos got on the board with his 383rd career goal, tying Vincent Lecavalier’s 383 career-goal franchise record, that the Lightning got some pep back in its step.

Then came Brayden Point. And then Nikita Kucherov. And 24 seconds after Kucherov came Tyler Johnson. And finally, Kucherov finished off the night for Tampa Bay, helping them notch a two-goal lead before Detroit’s Michael Rasmussen found the back of the net to bring the score up 5-4.

It was the comeback of the season, and certainly a night to remember for anyone on the ice.

“I think it’s kind of a quiet calm,” Johnson said after the game. “I think we know we’re never out of a game. We know we can come back. We know we have the skill. We have a confidence, it’s just a matter of time. We just had to play the way that we know we can play. We got some breaks, and some guys stepped up.”

Here are some odds and ends from Tampa Bay’s 5-4 win:

Kucherov doing the typical. There’s only been 17 games this season where Kucherov hasn’t logged a point in a game. However, Thursday night wasn’t one of those times as the All-Star forward notched his 34th multi-point game of the season (sixth four-point game). Kucherov also reached 115 points on the season with his two assists and two goals. He’s the first player since Sidney Crosby (in 2006-07) to tally at least 115 points in a season.

Kucherov notched two goals in an eight-minute span. One was notched coming off a Stamkos-won faceoff and ping-ponged around the ice until it found the toe of Kucherov’s stick and quickly made its way into the back of the net off a swift one-timer. His second goal of the night was a quick back-and-forth exchange between him and Point, which ended up with Kucherov just in front of the crease and in perfect position to find the hole between the goal post and Jimmy Howard.

Related: Up Next: vs. Capitals, Saturday at 7 p.m., Amalie Arena | TV/Radio: Fox Sports Sun, NHLN; AM-970

Franchise records. With the 5-4 win the Lightning make franchise history for the longest regular season win-streak against a team in the NHL. Tampa Bay also ties its franchise win-record from last season with its 54th win on the 2018-19 season. It’s only the fourth time in NHL history a program has notched at least 54 wins in back-to-back seasons. Saturday night was also the 31st time this season the Lightning have notched five or more goals during a game.

An odd penalty. Andrei Vasilevskiy notched a penalty of his own about 3 minutes into the third period when he tripped Tyler Bertuzzi right in front of the goal as the Detroit player came around Vasilevskiy’s right-hand side. Kucherov sat in the box for two minutes to serve the penalty.

Johnson with the tip. A pass from Cedric Paquette from the left side went to the middle of the ice and toward Erik Černák at the blueline. The rookie took a shot on goal right off the pass, but the shot was going wide of the net by a significant length. Luckily, Johnson’s hand-eye coordination came into play as he tipped the puck into the back of the net mid-air, giving his team a 4-3 lead with just under nine minutes left in the third period with his 25th goal on the season.

Point leads the way. With the second goal on the board in the Lightning’s 5-4 matchup against the Red Wings, Point ties Alex DeBrincat (Chicago) and Cam Atkinson (Columbus) for the fifth-most goals (38) in the NHL. Point leads the roster in goals, just three ahead of Kucherov and Stamkos. He also leads the team in power play goals at 19, just two ahead than Stamkos. Point’s goal on Saturday night was just his second even-strength goal he’s logged in 24 games.

Getting physical. Černák had a pretty physical play in the first period, making a pretty big hit on Detroit’s Danny DeKeyser, with both players colliding into the glass and coming off the hit a little shaken on both ends. Černák and fellow rookie Mathieu Joseph tallied the most hits between the two rosters finishing off the night with four hits.

Happy 200 games Vasilevskiy. The All-Star goaltender celebrated his 200th NHL game on Saturday with the 5-4 win in Detroit. He recorded his 12th win in the last 13 starts and stopped 23 shots on the night, improving to 33-8-4 on the season.

Contact Mari Faiello at Follow @faiello_mari.