Lightning respond with 7-1 victory over Sharks

by Gary Shelton on December 8, 2019

in general

Vasilevskiy had 37 saves for the Lightning,/CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 4 a.m

For two days, they were awful.

For two days, the defensemen of the Tampa Bay Lightning would look at each other and lower their eyes. They were not good enough. They were not sturdy enough. They were not dependable enough. They had the best goaltender in the league last season. They had the best defender. And still, they were surrendering goals at an alarming rate.

It had to stop.

And, for a night, it did.

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Verhaeghe celebrates his first goal in Tampa Bay's 7-1 win./CHUCK MULLER

The Lightning came out strong Saturday night, stopping a dangerous San Jose team in a 7-1 win. They were called for three penalties in the first eight minutes of the game and killed off them all and coasted to one of their easiest wins of the year.

Steven Stamkos and Tyler Johnson each scored two goals for the Lightning, and Andrei Vasilevski stopped 37 of 38 goals. Also scoring for the Bolts were Victor Hedman, Alex Killorn and rookie Carter Verhaegen.

"Wwe talked a lot about what matters to us," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "We saw the scores: 2-1, 21 2-1, 2-0. We can’t be giving up those goals. It’s going to read that we gave up 38 shotss. Btt we saw them all. They weren’t heart-stopping shots. They wren’t huge danger-zone chances. It was our attention to detail in our end that led to our win today."

Cooper was pleased to see Verhaegen's first goal.

"The a kid gets his first," Cooper said. "He deserved it. He was really good tonight. That line was outstanding. It’s my seventh seven. iIve seen a  lot of guys score their first . The feeling never changes. He’s got something to built on now. "

Stamkos said the game was a huge one for the players.

"It  started with those penalty kills at the beginning of the game," Stamkos said. "You never want to put  yourself in those positions. It starts with Vasiy making some big saves. You could see that the crowd appreciated the  sacrifice the guys had. We could tell we were going to have a good effort. It’s been a tough couple of days reflecting on that performance (against Minnesota). We rebounded well."

The Lightning is home Monday night against the New York Islanders. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

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