Bolts at their best as they stop the Avalanche

by Gary Shelton on December 9, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Stamkos had a four-point night for the Bolts./CARMEN MANDATO

Sunday, 3 a.m.

If the Stanley Cup took applications, this would on the first sheet of the resume.

This is how good the Tampa Bay Lightning can be. This is how explosive their offense can be. This is how dependable their defense can be when it's on. This is how solid their goaltending can be.

The Bolts played one of their most complete games of the season Saturday night, clobbering Colorado, one of the best teams in the Western Conference, in a 7-1 outburst. It was the fifth straight win for Tampa Bay, and it matched the Bolts' biggest winning margin of the season.

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Palat had his season's first two goals for the Lightning./CARMEN MANDATO

Steven Stamkos scored his 11th and 12th goal of the season, and Ondrej Palat scored his first two of the year. Also scoring were Tyler Johnson, Alex Killorn and Anthony Cirelli.

The best win of the year? Maybe.

"We've had a few of them, and we played well tonight," Cooper said. "They're quite a contrast from the last time we played them, but I think that got their attention when we played them in Colorado. Things went our way, but we felt like we deserved for them to go our way in the sense that we weren't giving them time and space at all. When you don't give them any space, especially the big line, it can be frustrating.

"The power play started us off with one. We get the second, they rebound. (MacKinnon) gets a nice one there, and I thought the big part for us was when we scored two minutes later. It was against that line and that really helped us. We just kind of went off from there."

For all the firepower, Stamkos said the  spark came early.

"I thought we set the tone right from the first shift," Stamkos said. "Kuch went out and had a big hit behind their net, and the bench responded. It just came on from there. We knew how good of a hockey team it is over there. We knew how intense the game was last time in Colorado. They’re one of the hardest teams in the league coming in, so special teams kind of propelled us early and we just never looked back. It was fun to be a part of.”

The Bolts were happy to see Palat, who has been injured, get on the scoreboard.

“He’s a big part of this team," Johnson said. "He’s awesome, and we’ve definitely missed him when he wasn’t playing. It’s good for him to get that monkey off the back, to be able to get those in the net. It helps your confidence a lot. I think we’ve all been there at some point, so you feel for him but you’re really happy today. I can’t wait to see him get rolling here.”

Said Stamkos: “It’s tough to come back from an injury, especially one like that. He’s had some bad breaks over the years, but at the end of the day when you look at that stats at the end of the year, he finds a way to get it done. He’s really worked extremely hard. Hopefully this will propel him and keep him going. He was fun to play with tonight.”

Goaltender Louis Domingue stopped 29 of 30 shots to earn his 13th win of the season. That's third in the NHL in wins.

Tampa Bay travels to play the New York Rangers Monday night.



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