Bolts look to familiar faces for victory

by Gary Shelton on December 3, 2017 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Tyler Johnson scores one of his two goals./JEFFREY S. KING

Tyler Johnson scores one of his two goals./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Johnson shows determination for the Bolts./JEFFREY S. KING

Johnson shows determination for the Bolts./JEFFREY S. KING

Hey, didn't you guys used to be the Triplets?

That guy with the burst of speed and the magical stick? The one who scored twice? He looks familiar. Nikita Kucherov used to play like that?

And the other guy? The little guy with the speed? Didn't Tyler Johnson used to skate like that?

And the third guy? The guy who makes the other two better? The guy who had two assists? Yeah, him. Doesn't he remind you of Ondrej Palat.

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Vasilevskiy leads the NHL in victories./JEFFREY S. KING

Vasilevskiy leads the NHL in victories./JEFFREY S. KING

Well, welcome back guys. And welcome back, winning.

The old Triplets line reunited for six points in a 5-2 victory by the Lightning over the San Jose Sharks Saturday night. The Bolts retook the NHL lead for wins (18), points (38) and regulation and overtime wins (17) and continue to lead the League for points percentage (.731) and goal differential (+28). The win keeps the

Kucherov scored his 18th and 19th goal./JEFFREY S. KNG

Kucherov scored his 18th and 19th goal./JEFFREY S. KNG

Lightning on top of the Atlantic Division of the NHL.

Tampa Bay took 43 shots in the game, tied for the most in any game this season.

Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 25-of-27 shots to improve to 17-4-1 on the season. Vasilevskiy's 17 wins are the most in the NHL.Vasilevskiy has allowed two goals or less in seven of his last nine games and 14 of his 22 starts overall.

“We played much better tonight than we did at any time on the road,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “I know we lost three out of four, we did have

Stamkos fights for the puck./JEFFREY S. KING

Stamkos fights for the puck./JEFFREY S. KING

spurts, but we got away from what we’re good at.

“Tonight, we were putting pucks behind their D, we were going in and going after it, and when we didn’t get it we didn’t get frustrated. We just did it again. Eventually we felt with the way we were playing that it was only a matter of time for us.”

Johnson had gone 14 straight games without a goal. He had two against the Sharks.

“Yeah, we like the way we played tonight,” Johnson said. “We had a lot of possession time, a lot of good chances and we played good defensively. San

Conacher has two goals in two games./JEFFREY S. KING

Conacher has two goals in two games./JEFFREY S. KING

Jose’s a good team, so when we can play the way we did, you’ve got to be happy about that.”

Johnson shrugged off snapping his scoreless streak.

“That’s how hockey goes sometimes. You get the chances and the bounces don’t go your way and then other times you kind of get those garbage goals that just find a way to go in. Luckily for me, I was able to find a way to break through tonight. The last couple games had some really good chances that just didn’t go my way.”

Kucherov had his third multi-goal game of the season. His 19 goals tie him with Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the league lead.

Kucherov said the switching of the lines didn't matter to him.

“I didn’t feel anything,” Kucherov said. “You’ve got to play with everyone, and he decided to put us with different lines. It doesn’t matter who you play with.”

Tampa Bay continues its four-game home stand on Tuesday when its hosts the New York Islanders at Amalie Arena.

Vasilevskiy has allowed two goals or less in seven of nine games./JEFFREY S. KING

Vasilevskiy has allowed two goals or less in seven of nine games./JEFFREY S. KING

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Larry Beller December 3, 2017 at 7:20 am

It will be interesting to see how long Cooper goes before reuniting Stamkos and Kucherov. Those guys were so good together it seems like this separation will only be temporary. But the Lightning have so much offensive talent there are plenty of options to pair up the top lines.

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Gary Shelton December 3, 2017 at 7:31 am

I completely agree. Stamkos is a great playmaker.

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