Lightning stretches winning streak to seven games

by Gary Shelton on January 6, 2020

in general

Stamkos' goal gave the Bolts an early 2-0 lead./CHUCK MULLER

Monday, 4 a.m.

Sleep? Who needs sleep?

The Tampa Bay Lightning, fresh off a win in Canada against the Ottawa Senators, had to finish a game, clear customs and travel to Carolina for an afternoon game, still had enough energy for its seventh straight victory Sunday afternoon.

The Lightning jumped to a quick 2-0 lead and coasted to a 3-1 win over the Carolina Panthers.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

Point scored the third goal forr the Bolts./CHUCK MULLER

"You look at the schedule and know you’re going to have a tough one," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "This team had taken it to us twice. You could see our guys dig deep. There was a focus. I'm proud of the fact that we could have said 'hey, we've won three (on the road trip).' But we wanted to take all four and that’s what we did."

Mitchell Stephens and Steven Stamkos scored scored goals in the first five minutes of the game and led 3-0 after two periods.

“The trademark of that team is that they start fast," Cooper said. "That’s where they get you.  The last time we played them they were up 3-0 before we knew what was happening.  You’ve got to weather that a little bit. For the shot volume team they are, we kept them off the board a little bit.  To get the goals early and make them have to play catchup was a benefit to us.

”The second period was an exceptional period for us. The way the league is now, it seems like no lead is safe.  We wanted to extend it.  I don’t know how much we had in the tank. We let it all out in that second period. It got us that third one (a goal by Brayden Point). We made ourselves feel pretty good going into the third."

Tampa Bay swept a road trip of four or more games for only the second time in franchise history (also: 4-0-0 from Feb. 26 to March 3, 2016).

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced to improve to 19-9-2 on the season. He has won five-consecutive starts for his longest win streak of the season. Vasilevskiy hasn’t lost in regulation since Dec. 14 vs. WSH, going 6-0-1 since.

Cooper thinks the Lightning's streak is a result of how the team was playing even when it wasn't winning.

“We’re being rewarded for how we played in the month prior," Cooper said. "We've been playing really well. We’d walk away with one point or none.. We’d make two mistakes and both of them would end up in the net.

"We knew if we kept playing that way, we’d eventually get rewarded.  Now we are. All these games. We haven’t necessarily been the dominant team in all these games, but we’re giving ourselves a chance to win and we’re finding a way to win."

The Lightning returns home on Tuesday night to play Vancouver, which has also won seven straight games. The puck is scheduled to drop at 7 p.m.

Previous post:

Next post: