Lightning scraps to a victory over the Canucks

by Gary Shelton on December 19, 2018 · 2 comments

in general

Stamkos scored his 17th goal of the year./CARMEN MANDATO

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

As it turns out, there is more than a little fight to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning survived a scrappy contest against Vancouver Tuesday night, pulling away from the Canucks to a 5-2 victory. There were several fights during the game, resulting in a total of 41 penalty minutes and 10 power plays before it was over.

The Bolts led only 3-2 in the third period, but late goals by Steven Stamkos and Ondrej Palat allowed the Lightning to close it out.

"Stamkos goal was a huge one," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "It took the life out of them.'"

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Vasilevskiy is now third in saves for the Lightning./JEFFREY S. KING

Stamkos said it was a good team victory.

“It was a pretty gutsy win by our group," Stamkos said. "Obviously, if you watch us play throughout the course of a season, there’s not too many games like that. We try to play with our speed and skill, but when it gets chippy like that, guys stepped up, stuck up for themselves. There were probably some suspect plays by both teams, but that’s hockey. That’s the way it is, and we responded. It’s a good road win for us.”

Lightning coach Jon Cooper shrugged off the fisticuffs by saying it was "guys trying to protect themselves and taking up for each other."

Said Paquette: "You saw Roussel go after Kuch like he did in the first 10 minutes. The word was on the benches to stick to each other and go play hard and that’s what we did.”

For Tampa Bay, Nikita Kucherov, Cedric Paquette and Adam Erne also scored.

Rookie Danick Martel played for the Lightning after Ryan Callahan was a late scratch. He found out just before the game that he would play.

“After warmup," he said. "I was not even at the rink yet. I got a text and I was walking so I start running under the rain, came in and had some fun.

"I was just expecting absolutely nothing. I think pretty much everyone thought I would have a bad game and just play two, three minutes, maybe one, two shifts and just feel it around and cover some shifts. But I wanted to make a difference. I don’t have a lot of opportunities at the start of the year, so when I have some, I have to get ready. I said the same thing the first game. I’m playing my role. I played a decent game again today for the warmup I had, so I’m proud of it.”

Martel ended up with his first point when he assisted on Paquette's goal.

“I think I closed my eyes on that one," Martel said. "Ceddy screamed and I got scared, I don’t know. But, no, I do this a lot, I just try to grab the D on my shoulder and spin and find an open gap and Ceddy was open. He talked to me, so I saw him and great idea too.”

The Bolts' fourth line played well in the victory.

“They played great all year," Stamkos said. "Martel, who knows where he was when he got the call to come. He didn’t even take warmups. Amazing for him to jump in like that and play a great game, got his first NHL point and stirred it up a little bit. Ceddy’s been great all year and stepped up. I thought those guys were great tonight and were a big reason why we won.”

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 of 38 shots to earn his 11th win of the season. He moved into third place in saves ahead of Nikolai Khabibulin.

Tampa Bay plays Calgary on Thursday night. The puck is scheduled to drop at 9 p.m.







The Bolts, 26-7-2, have now won nine of their last 10 games.


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