Thursday, 3 a.m.
They skate like players you remember.
They finish the way they used to finish.
The score the way they used to score.
Yep. Those are the Triplets all right. And welcome back.
The reunited Triplets of Tyler Johnson, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov rode together again Wednesday night in the Lightning's 4-3 come-from-behind victory in overtime. Both Palat and Kucherov had missed six straight games.
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Together, the trio combined for three of the Bolts' goals — including Johnson's shot in overtime.
"The Triplets were outstanding tonight,” said Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper. “I thought they were the best line on the ice and the stat sheet’s going to show that, but they did everything we watched them do for the last few years now. You always worry about guys in their first game back, but if we don’t have them, we don’t have two points tonight. I thought they were big all over the ice, and when we needed them the most, they came through.”
Tampa Bay trailed 3-1 in the third period before launching its comeback.
"The third was our best period,” Cooper said. “Montreal’s good at protecting leads. They’ve got the big guy back there in net and they just kept chipping pucks out, chipping pucks out, and we needed to sustain some zone time because we didn’t have a lot of shots in the first seven or eight minutes. But I thought we were starting to potentially wear down their D a little bit. They were starting to make some mistakes, and we were kind of feeling it a little bit. Then Victor gets that big goal for us and once he got that one we grew a little bit on the bench, and after that I thought we finished really strong.”
The victory felt nice, but with Toronto scheduled for tonight, it won't last long.
It’s a what have you done for me lately league, so by the time 7:30 starts tomorrow, it’s not going to matter too much,” Cooper said. “But we’re two points farther ahead than we were a couple hours ago, and that’s what you need to do. When you have a bad loss, you’ve got to turn the page. When you have a good win like we did tonight, you want to hold on to that feeling, but you have to understand the way we progressed in this game, we have to carry that into tomorrow and we can’t just hang our hat on what happened tonight.”
The Bolts are home against Toronto tonight.