Stars come out as Lightning beats Red Wings

by Gary Shelton on February 16, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Steven Stamkos scores the first of his two goals./CARMEN MANDATO

Steven Stamkos scores the first of his two goals./CARMEN MANDATO

Friday, 4 a.m.

They all count the same. They are all cheered by the fans. They all light the lamp.

Stamkos has 22 goals on the season./CARMEN MANDATO

Stamkos has 22 goals on the season./CARMEN MANDATO

The truth of it, however, is that some goals mean more than others.

Some goals right the ship. Some goals restore the swagger. And some goals light the way to the post-season.

In other words, when the stars come out, a team can look cured of its recent struggles.

Kucherov had a four-point night for Tampa Bay./CARMEN MANDATO

Kucherov had a four-point night for Tampa Bay./CARMEN MANDATO

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Vasilevskiy stopped 38 shots against Detroit./CARMEN MANDATO

Vasilevskiy stopped 38 shots against Detroit./CARMEN MANDATO

Ask the Lightning, which followed its leaders to a 4-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night. Steven Stamkos scored two goals, and Nikita Kucherov scored one and had three assists. Victor Hedman had three assists.

Alex Killorn, who has 11 points in February, scored a goal.

Adam Erne goes strong to the net for Tampa Bay./CARMEN MANDATO

Adam Erne goes strong to the net for Tampa Bay./CARMEN MANDATO

“It was that mentality that opens things up for everybody else on the ice and he can make plays," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "The play he made just to set up the fourth goal was -- not a lot of guys can do that. I just liked his shot mentality tonight and it’s probably the big reasons he had the night he had.”

Both Stamkos and Kucherov have struggled as of late, which has put the scoring in the hands of such players as Yanni Gourde and Alex Killorn. No one is turning down their goals from those guys, either, but at times, it's like trying to

Chris Kunitz helped the Bolts win the third period./CARMEN MANDATO

Chris Kunitz helped the Bolts win the third period./CARMEN MANDATO

fill a lake by tossing pebbles into it.

“We just try to do our best every game," said Kucherov, "and play the right way every time and we get rewarded and that's what we did today and it worked."

As the Bucs enter the stretch drive for the playoffs, they will need Stamkos, Kucherov, Hedman and goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy. Vasilevskiy earned his 34th win of the season with 38 saves (on 39 shots).

As of late, Killorn has been one of the Bolts' major players, too.

“Killer is winning all of his puck battles," Cooper said. "H e’s going to the net

Point helped the Lightning beat the Wings again./CARMEN MANDATO

Point helped the Lightning beat the Wings again./CARMEN MANDATO

and he’s playing with a couple good players. Earlier in the year, he didn’t quite have that jump, have that speed in his game and the physicality. It’s slowly been coming.”

Stamkos said the team was glad to be back on home ice.

“If you look at our record on the road, I mean we have close to 20 wins on the road," said Stamkos, who now has 22 goals. "It’s just the grind of the travel and the getting in late. That stuff starts to wear on you a little bit, especially at this time of the year. Just to be able to sleep in your own bed and do your own routine it’s obviously a preference. When we can do that we want to take advantage of it because we feel like we have the upper hand, especially with our crowd and our fans.”

The Bolts are home again on Saturday night against New Jersey. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.

Peca moves down the ice for the Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

Peca moves down the ice for the Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

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