Bolts’ depth carries them past Flyers

by Gary Shelton on February 20, 2019 · 0 comments

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Dominique has won 11 straight games./JEFFREY S. KING

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

No Point. No Hedman. No Vasilevskiy.

Not much Stamkos. Barely any Kucherov.

And still, the Tampa Bay Lightning won Tuesday night in a 5-2 victory over Philadelphia. It was the seventh straight win by the Bolts, who have scored 33 points and given up just 13 in the streak. That ties Tampa Bay's second-longest streak of the season.

“Any coach will tell you, it’s great to have good goaltending, it’s great to have depth," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "We’ve got them both.

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Gourde has 17 goals on the season./STEVEN MUNCIE

"When you can throw either goaltender in there and Louis can come in and get tough starts. He’s getting the back end of back-to-backs and he continues to give us a chance to win. And then guys that haven’t been in the lineup giving you quality minutes, you’re not having to rely on the same guys to score every single night, it makes your job easier.”

"You want to talk about depth? Start with goaltender Louie Domingue, who won his 11th straight game. Domingue stopped 28 shots and ran his record to 19-5. He's won 14 of his last 15 games.

The Bolts were a bit shorthanded in the victory. Point was late to a team meeting and sat out. Hedman was injured. Vasilevskiy was being rested. Kucherov and Stamkos played, but combined for only three shots between them.

And it didn't matter.

“We were a little more engaged (than the previous night)," Cooper said. "There’s no doubt about that. That’s to take nothing away from Columbus. Columbus had us on our heels and we just weren’t engaged. And tonight, pretty determined group. We had a couple guys out of the lineup tonight, so the antennas were up for us no doubt. It really helps when you start a game the way we did by scoring the way we did. We put them on their heels, and it’s tough to come back when you’re down three. Our guys did a really good job.”

The Bolts got goals from Mikhail Sergachev, Alex Killorn, J.T. Miller, Yanni Gourde and Ryan McDonagh. The Lightning scored three times in the first period to get off to a good start.

"There’s no question, I really liked our first period,"Cooper said. "We really controlled the play. To be honest, I thought we could have had more than three. We come into the second, we knew they were going to push. They did. We weathered it. And then we gave up the one. Yanni’s power-play goal is huge because that kind of burst the bubble a little bit. They did get one back. When I look at this trip and the way it’s set up for us, it was going to be a tough one, especially against two teams that are scrambling for playoff position or to get into the playoffs, and we handled it well.”


Miller scored his 10th goal of the season. The Bolts have nine players who have scored at least 10.

That's been a habit lately. The Bolts have scored at least five goals in six of their last seven games.

Tampa Bay is now 46-11-4 on the season.

How has the team stayed focused on the regular season?

“The group’s been together for a while," Cooper said. "It's a pretty determined group. We’ve knocked at the door for the last few years now. Regular season success does not spell playoff success. The game’s different. But you need to get into the playoffs. You need to give yourself a chance. The fact that we’ve been racking up the points we have is probably a testament to the consistency this team has shown all year. Playoffs everything’s even. Playing the same team, same travel schedule, the whole deal. Regular season is different. For the guys to bring it every night and find a way to eek them out, the consistency has been a big part for this year.”

Tampa Bay now returns to Amalie Arena to face Buffalo on Thursday night. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7:30 p.m.

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