Special Teams Highlight Dominating Performance
Seven different Lightning players scored on the night. Brayden Point scored a pair of goals, Victor Hedman, Cedric Paquette, Yanni Gourde, Alex Killorn, Nikita Kucherov, and J.T. Miller each added a goal as the Tampa Bay Lightning improve to 2-1-0 on the season with a dominating 8-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The eight goals ties a Lightning franchise record matching their 8-5 victory over the Florida Panthers on October 30, 2017. “Whether you get one or you get eight, goals win the game.” Said Coach Jon Cooper. “The part I liked about it is we just gave up two, and usually when that happens you’re in good shape. “
Not to be forgotten, goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 30-of-32 shots on the night in picking up his second win.
The story of the night was the Lightning’s special team units. Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said as much after the game. “Our power play wasn’t good when we had opportunities, and we couldn’t stop their power play.”
The Lightning finally got their power play on track and continued to shut down the opposition with their penalty kill.
The Bolts held the Blue Jackets power play off the board on all five opportunities. After their penalty kill unit finished the 2017-2018 season ranked 28th in the NHL at 76.1-percent the Bolts made improving this unit a priority in the offseason. Thus far, the results of the work has been impressive as they have held the opposition scoreless in all 13 opportunities they have faced.
While the penalty kill struggled last season, the power play was powerful ranking third in the league at 23.9-percent. However, entering tonight’s game the Bolts were held scoreless in all eight of their opportunities. They were much more themselves scoring four power play goals in seven attempts.
Lightning Get Off To A Fast Start:
Coach Jon Cooper reunited the triplets line of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat, and Nikita Kucherov in an attempt to spark the offense. The move paid dividends just one minute into the game as Victor Hedman, while on the ice with the triplets, gave the Bolts the early 1-0 lead.
Tampa Bay added to their lead after Yanni Gourde picked the pocket of Pierre-Luc Dubois and sent the puck cross ice to Cedric Paquette who scored his first goal of the season.
Gourde capped the Lightning’s torrid first period scoring his first goal of the season giving Tampa Bay the 3-0 lead. It was Tampa Bay’s first power play goal in nine chances this season.
Columbus Makes It A Game In The Second Period:
Columbus owned much of the second period pushing the Bolts on their heels with six minutes of penalty time. While Tampa Bay was able to kill the penalties they were unable to tilt the ice back in their favor as the Blue Jackets carried the momentum on their side scoring twice to cut the deficit to one at 3-2.
The Lightning took back some of the momentum with a Brayden Point goal with 45-seconds remaining extending their lead to 4-2.
Lightning Attack In The Third Period:
Thanks to a Zach Werenski penalty at the end of the second period, Tampa Bay opened the third period on the power play. They took advantage of the extra man as Brayden Point extended the Bolts lead to 5-2 with his second goal of the game.
Alex Killorn extended the lead to 6-2 with a power play goal midway through the third period. Tampa Bay poured it on down the stretch with Nikita Kucherov scoring his first goal of the season and J.T. Miller scored with less than a second remaining to cap the scoring.
- Victor Hedman scored the games first goal one-minute into the first period. Nikita Kucherov and Tyler Johnson each picked up an assist.
- It was Kucherov’s 188th career assist which moves him past Dan Boyle into sole possession of 8th place among Tampa Bay’s all-time assists leaders.
- Cedric Paquette scored his first goal of the season giving the Bolts a 2-0 first period lead. Yanni Gourde picked up his second assist of the season.
- Gourde picked up his first goal of the season to close out the first period. Mikhail Sergachev and Tyler Johnson each picked up an assist.
- Brayden Point scored the Bolts lone goal of the second period pushing the lead back to 4-2.
- Point opened the scoring in the 3rd period scoring a power play goal to push the lead to 5-2. J.T. Miller and Mikhail Sergachev each picked up assist.
- It was Point’s seventh career multi-goal game and first since March 30, 2018 against the New York Rangers. He finished the game with three points. It was the sixth game (including playoffs) of three or more points in his career.
- It was Sergachev’s first multi-point game of the season and his eighth multi-point game of his career. His first since March 22, 2018 against the New York Islanders.
- Nikita Kucherov scored his first goal of the season late in the third period to give the Lightning a 7-2 lead. Ondrej Palat and Braydon Coburn each picked up assists on the goal.
- J.T. Miller scored his first goal of the season with 0.2-seconds remaining. Brayden Point and Anton Stralman picked up assists.
Up Next For Bolts:
On Tuesday evening at 7:30 Tampa Bay welcomes in the Carolina Hurricanes to Amalie Arena. It’s the fourth of five straight games for the Bolts at Amalie Arena to open the season. The five game home set ends on Thursday night against the Detroit Red Wings at 7:30.