Once again, Lightning finds success in Sweden

by Gary Shelton on November 10, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Hedman enjoyed playing in his homeland./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Perhaps the Tampa Bay Lightning should play more games in Sweden.

The Bolts won their second game in two days Saturday, beating the Buffalo Sabres 5-3 in the NHL's Global Series.

The Bolts hope to use the victories as a springboard to improve upon their start. They are now 8-5-2 on the season.

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The Lightning's fourth line -- Yanni Gourde, Pat Maroon and Cedric Paquette -- led the way for Tampa Bay.

"I’d rather call it Paquette’s line," said Lightning coach Jon Cooper. "They may have been the difference in both games for us. Any time we needed a push back, they delivered it. They were a hard line for their d-corps to handle.  When you get to spend 30 seconds in the zone on every shift, it kind of resets your team a little, They were rewarded a little bit. All three of them were fantastic."

Maroon scored twice and Gourde once. Mathieu Joseph and Victor Hedman also scored for the Lightning.

For Hedman, it was the end of a fulfilling week in which he played in his native Sweden.

"It's got to be a thrill for him," Cooper said. "He’s spent his last 10 years playing in North America. Players try so hard to keep their emotions under control. The roar he got again tonight was amazing. I know how proud he is of his country and how exciting it is for him to play the way he did."

Said Hedman: "That was special. It's tough to put into words. Sweden means the world to me."

Maroon's first goal came with three seconds left in the second period.

Cooper thinks Maroon can add a new toughness to the Bolts.

"I think when people look at (our) identity in the past, it’s been skill and speed," Cooper said. "We've tried to add a different element, a more physical style, a grind it out style. Not all our players are going to play the same way. If we can wear teams down, that line will set up shifts. With each game, he’s getting more comfortable with his surroundings."

Curtis McElhinney made 40 saves on 43 shots to improve to 2-1-2 on the season.

The Bolts are home Thursday night against the New York Rangers at 7 p.m. at Amalie Arena.

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