Four quick goals leads Bolts to victory

by Gary Shelton on January 1, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Johnson scored two goals to lead Lightning./STEVEN MUNCIE

Johnson scored two goals to lead Lightning./CARMEN MANDATO

Monday, 2 a.m.

For the Tampa Bay Lightning these days, hockey is as easy as flipping a switch.

Take Sunday's game in Columbus, for instance, after the lights came on.

There the Bolts were, stumbling through the dark, trying to score goals without shooting the puck. And then, everything changed. The Bolts scored four times in 7:17, leading their way to a 5-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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Sergachev had a pair of assists./STEVEN MUNCIE

Sergachev had a pair of assists./CARMEN MANDATO

Tyler Johnson scored two goals. Nikita Kucherov, Cory Conacher and Steven Stamkos all added goals.

"You saw the first (period)," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We had five shots, Gourde had three, Point had one and Stralman I think had one. That was it. We had two 2-on-1s, we didn’t get a shot off. We had multiple chances, rushes, passed ourselves out of the zone. We’re never going to win like that. And it’s something we’ve really been harping on the guys and it came to a little bit of a boil after the first. But you’ve got to give the guys a ton of credit: They went out and they executed. We got one and we got two and we tried to break their will in the second. Fortunately for us, we got a couple by him, caught little breaks."

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy had his fifth shutout of the year and his second against Columbus. He still leads the NHL with 25 victories. Sunday, he stopped all 21 shots.

Cooper pointed to Johnson's play as an example of a player who benefits from shooting.

“Perfect example on Tyler Johnson: First period he’s on a 2-on-1, and he tries to make a pass," Cooper said. "Second period he comes out and shoots the puck and two end up in the net. It’s a simple solution for him. He knows that. A lot of times it comes down to guys are being extremely unselfish, and you can’t fault players for that. But for our success, sometimes we’ve got to be a little selfish. When the guys started shooting, things started going in the net.”

The Bolts outshot Columbus 35-21, including a 23-6 advantage in the second period.

Tampa Bay travels to Toronto on Tuesday. The puck drops at 7 p.m.

Vasilevski had his fifth shutout of the season./CARMEN MANDATO

Vasilevskiy had his fifth shutout of the season./CARMEN MANDATO

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