Erne scores a late goal to lead Bolts to a wobbly win

by Gary Shelton on December 30, 2018 · 0 comments

in general

Adam Erne scored the winning goal with 62 seconds left./CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 3 a.m.

Even on the nights they wobble, they do not fall down.

Even on the nights the defense isn't paying attention, on the nights when Andrei Vasilevskiy isn't seeing the puck well, on a night when neither Steven Stamkos nor Brayden Point -- the team's leading goal-scorers -- cannot find the net, the Tampa Bay Lightning keeps winning.

The Bolts stumbled a bit Saturday night, but in the end, they won again in a 6-5 victory over Montreal. It was the team's 14th straight game with a point.

Adam Erne scored the winning goal with 62 seconds left, giving the Bolts their second straight 6-5 win. It was Erne's second goal of the night, and only the

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Kucherov scored his 18th goal of the year./CHUCK MULLER

second two-goal game of his career. In their last five games, the Lightning has scored 28 goals, but it's allowed 19.

The Bolts are 16-1-1 in their last 18 games. Tampa Bay has scored four or more goals in nine-straight games and 28 games overall this season, going 25-1-2 when doing so.

The Bolts were leaky for two periods, but tightened up their game in the third period. They gave up only six shots in the third.

Sergachev brings the puck up the ice./CHUCK MULLER

“Obviously, we had to change the way we were playing or who knows what the score was going to be in that game," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "But in the third period, with Adam (Erne) included, the biggest thing for me is we didn’t give them anything in the third. As that game wore on, the zone time was all in our favor, puck position was in our favor, chances were in our favor, but it was our compete level 200 feet away from their net that was the difference. That’s not what we were doing the first two periods.”

Erne was a surprise to provide the winning goal.

"I was calling for it so, yeah, I was ready for it," Erne said. "I think he (Yanni Gourde) had an opportunity to shoot as well, but I think he saw the pass was open and made a nice pass."

Vasilevskiy looks around ex-Bolt Jonathan Drouin./CHUCK MULLER

Said Anton Stralman: "I think it just shows the depth we have within this team and this organization, and we see all those guys who have come through our organization these last few years. It's quite impressive the work they do developing players, and it seems like everyone that comes up plays well for us. He's one of those examples."

Gourde said the Bolts simplified their game in the final period.

"I think we skated more and we played more simple," Gourde said. "We got pucks deep and when we put the puck deep we're pretty hard to play against because we have a lot of speed on that team and we land fast on the puck. Basically that's how we scored the game-winning goal.

"It's obviously great to score that many goals and we showed that we have a lot of depth in this organization and everybody can score. At the same time we do not want

Johnson scored his 18th goal./CHUCK MULLER

to give up five goals. We're much better than that. We have to tighten things up on the defensive side of things.”

The Bolts are now 30-7-2 on the season.

“It means you’re two more points closer to a playoff spot that everybody is desperately looking for. Regardless if you’re in first place or eighth place, you’ve got to keep plugging away. There’s peaks and the valleys during the year, and you have to take advantage of games when maybe you’re not at your best but you can still get points.”

Tampa Bay starts a three-game trip on Monday, facing Anaheim. The puck is schedule to drop at 8 p.m. Eastern time.



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