Sunday, 3 a.m.
Once, it was the team's usual result. But that was long ago, before the defensive collapse and the offensive slump and the goaltending dip.
This time, however, it was a win. And for the Tampa Bay Lightning, that was sweet.
The Lightning captured a 3-2 shootout win over the Anaheim Ducks Saturday night, only their second win in their last eight games. Oh, the Bolts are still in trouble. They're tied for last in the Atlantic Division with Detroit. For a night, however, hockey was a fun again.
Tampa Bay got off 37 shots (on 82 shot attempts). That was a relief in itself. In their last two games, the Bolts had only 21 shots. This time, they outshot their opponent by 21 shots. Anaheim had only 16 shots, none in the overtime period.
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Ben Bishop stopped 14 of the 16 shots for his 12th win. It was Bishop's first win since Jan. 16.
Jonathan Drouin and Alex Killorn scored in regulation for the Bolts. Brayden Point, Nikita Kucherov and Brian Boyle scored in the shootout.
“I think I said the last couple of days standing here, it’s a proud group in there, and they were not to be denied tonight. Angry, determined, whatever you want to say,” said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. “They had it all. It was fun to watch. It was an entertaining game. If you’re going to give up a point, give it up to a Western Conference team. I’m sure the other Western Conference teams aren’t happy about it, but we don’t really care. We needed the two, and we got them. However you want to say our mood was, it was all good, and that’s why we won.”
Cooper was especially proud of his defense.
“Well, we were really aggressive with the puck, and we were aggressive without the puck,” Cooper said. “If you watched when they tied the game, we actually kind of sat back a little bit there, and it burned us. That was probably the only time of the game, it was about a two minute span, we were a little bit on our heels. As I said, they reset and went back to work. The more aggressive we were, the better we played.”
Tampa Bay played one of its best games from start to finish.
“I thought we played a pretty solid game. We had a lot of scoring chances,” said Tyler Johnson. “I think we maybe hit two or three posts throughout. An inch here or there, that changes the score a little bit. I thought we were good in the defensive zone. I thought the D were helping the forwards. The forwards were helping the D and we just kept on rolling.”
Tampa Bay scored only one power play goal despite seven chances.
“At the end, our power play was leaking a little,” Alex Killorn said. I think we have to be a little bit better at the end. We have an opportunity to kind of finish the game, and we don’t get many opportunities. But the penalty kill was great, and that is something we emphasized before the game.”
The Lightning is home against the Kings on Tuesday night.