Kucherov, Stamkos score in Lightning victory

by Gary Shelton on February 9, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Kucherov celebrates a skid-breaking goal./CARMEN MANDATO

Kucherov celebrates a skid-breaking goal./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 3 a.m.

Oh. So this is what they mean by many happy returns.

The Tampa Bay Lightning returned to Amalie Arena Thursday night after an eight-game road trip and knocked off the Vancouver Canucks 5-2.

And Nikita Kucherov -- remember him? -- scored a goal for the first time in 12 games.

And Steven Stamkos -- a stranger as of late -- scored a goal for the third time in 15 games. It was his 20th goal, the ninth time he has had at leasts 20 ins career.

Well, welcome back. The lot of you.

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Stamkos scored his 20th goal of the year./CARMEN MANDATO

Stamkos scored his 20th goal of the year./CARMEN MANDATO

The Bolts ran their record to 37-14-3 with their victory. The Bolts took a 4-0 lead, then held on in the third for their win.

Kucherov scored his 28th goal of the season. Both Stamkos and Yanni Gourde scored their 20th. Also scoring was Victor Hedman and Adam Erne.

Vasilevskiy stopped 27 of 29 shots for the win./CARMEN MANDATO

Vasilevskiy stopped 27 of 29 shots for the win./CARMEN MANDATO

“You know you weren’t going to keep that kid down for very long," Stamkos said of Kucherov. "He’s an unbelievable talent. You always go through stuff like that in your career no matter how great of a goal scorer you are or how great of a player you are, you’re going to go through tough stretches.

"It’s what you do when you’re going through that and you could see it was coming. He was getting the chances. He was getting the shots. You worry when you’re not getting those chances, so it was a matter of time. Obviously, you could tell by his celebration he was happy to score and it was nice for the guys on the bench to see him get one.”

Hedman put the finishing touch on the win./CARMEN MANDATO

Hedman put the finishing touch on the win./CARMEN MANDATO

Said Lightning coach Jon Cooper: "Those two guys weren't going to stay off forever."

The Bolts jumbled their lines, and it paid off.

“That happens throughout the course of the year," Stamkos said. "Sometimes guys need a little spark, or the team needs a spark, or something is just stale and you need to change it. Whether you go back to it or you stick with it, things like that happen throughout the course of the year. The guys in this room have all played on a different line at some point on this team with these guys, so we’re all familiar with each other.”

Said Cooper: “We want to put guys in the best chance to succeed. That’s our whole goal, what is going bring the best to this player that’s going to help our team. Sometimes it’s putting these guys together and sometimes it’s not. It’s our job as a staff to find out what’s going to work.”

Goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy won for the fifth time in his last six starts.

Tampa Bay is home again Saturday night when the Los Angeles Kings come to town.

Erne scored a goal in the Lightning's win./CARMEN MANDATO

Erne scored a goal in the Lightning's win./CARMEN MANDATO

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cecil DeBald February 9, 2018 at 8:46 am

Was a good game, but still way too many turnovers around the blue line, and way too many uncontested shots on Vas. I don’t know why the Bolts keep doing that when they must know all we fans want is perfection!

Cecil

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Gary Shelton February 9, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Is that so much to ask? I mean, really.

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