TAMPA — The depth came through for the Lightning on Thursday, playing without three of their top six forwards. Pat Maroon, Yanni Gourde and Cedric Paquette all scored to lead Tampa Bay to a 3-1 win over Edmonton.
The Lightning’s ninth straight victory also tied a franchise record of 10 straight home victories. Tampa Bay is riding an 11-game point streak and goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves Thursday, has not lost in regulation in his last 20 games.
Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Anthony Cirelli, all missing from the lineup, have totaled 67. Gourde, Maroon and Paquette have combined for 20 goals this year.
None of those three has scored much of late either. Gourde broke a 35-game goal drought on Tuesday. Maroon hadn’t scored since Jan. 11 against Philadelphia. Paquette’s last goal came Dec. 17 against Ottawa.
“There are a lot of guys who stepped up tonight and did a very good job,” Gourde said. "It just shows the depth of this team, the depth of this organization and it’s exciting to see.
Maroon got the scoring started early in the second period. He waited at the net-front for Cameron Gaunce’s shot and then battled for the rebound and shoved it inside the post, banking the puck off goalie Mike Smith. Gaunce also stepped up in a new role. He made his NHL debut at forward with the Lightning facing down more injuries than they have players to spare.
The Oilers responded five minutes later. Caleb Jones’s first shot was blocked by Ondrej Palat but he followed the puck and threw it on net again. This time he beat Vasilevskiy.
Gourde came through with a shorthanded breakaway 3:25 after Jones’ goal. He picked up the puck in the neutral zone and sprinted in on Smith, roofing the puck over the goalie’s blocker, the same spot he hit on Tuesday.
Paquette landed an empty-netter inside the final minute to finish off the winner. Brayden Point picked up the puck in the offensive zone, but passed to Paquette, giving the third-line center a chance at his first goal in 25 games.