Lightning bounces back again with win over Sharks

by Gary Shelton on January 20, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Gourde scred his first goal since December./CHUCK MULLER

Sunday, 3 a.m.

And now, as we take a break to reflect upon what the Tampa Bay Lightning has done to this point in the season, the moments come rushing at you.

Gourde broke a 2-2 tie./CHUCK MULLER

They have had scoring. Their stars have been stars. The secondary scoring has been excellent. Their goaltending has been solid. Their defense has held up often. They have been resilient, and creative, and dynamic.

You know, just like Saturday night

The Bolts wrapped up the pre-All-Star Game part of their schedule Saturday night, beating San Jose 6-3 and avenging a loss to the Sharks two weeks ago. The Bolts scored twice in every period en route to their 37th win of the year.

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Stamkos scored twice for Tampa Bay./MULLER

Once again, Tampa Bay bounced back after a defeat. The Bolts are now 11-1 following a loss.

"We knew we wanted to bounce back," said Steven Stamkos, who scored the Lightning's final two goals, his 25th and 26th of the season. "I know we were kind of happy about how the schedule worked out, that we're playing

Coburn forces San Jose's Tomas Hertl into the boards./CHUCK MULLER

Toronto and San Jose, two top-tiered teams in this league. We had to really focus. We thought we played OK against Toronto and we deserved a little better fate.

"Tonight, we knew we had to come in and get a win. It wasn't always pretty. Vasy was there, big for us and made some big saves. We were able to kind of shut it down in the third, which was nice to see."

The Bolts led 2-0, but San Jose pulled into a tie. After that, the Lighting owned the game, holding the Sharks to one goal in the third period.

"That felt good," Stamkos said. "That was nice to see our group come in

Hedman is congratulated by Point./CHUCK MULLER

with a game plan into the third period. We had the lead. We knew obviously one more period, and we get a much deserved break. So I thought the guys did a good job of going out there with a purpose, which was to not give them anything. We stayed above in the neutral zone. We made some nice blocked shots. Vasy had some nice saves and it was just all in all it was a really controlled period and one we executed very well."

For the Bolts, Matthieu Joseph scored, as did Alex Killorn and Victor Hedman. Yanni Gourde ended a 10-game goalless streak as he snapped a 2-2 tie.

Vasilevskiy won his 20th game of the season./CHUCK MULLER

Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 36 of 39 shots to improve his season's record to 20-6-2. Despite the time he missed with a broken foot, he is fifth in the league in wins.

"Until we took the penalty with four minutes left, we didn’t give anything," Lightning coach Jon Cooper said. "I think they only had a couple shots on goal. The score maybe played a little bit into it, but part of that too is they try and push and you negate them and then add to the lead. I thought that was really good for us. It’s stuff that you’re going to have to do when you get late into the playoff push and if you get to play in the spring. It was tough giving that one up at the end, but, for the most part, leading up to that penalty was really good."

Joseph scored the Lightning's first goal./CHUCK MULLER

Cooper liked how the team maintained its focus after giving up a 2-0 lead.

“There was a 2-0 lead and you give it up, a lot of game left," Cooper said. "We talked about it after the first. That was tough giving up that one early (in the second period), but I thought we kind of settled down after that. With Gourde, that’s a big one. It’s better to play with a lead than without, but getting that fourth goal was huge for us because now they have got to push. But I like the way we weathered the emotions of coughing up the lead.”

Cooper admitted not scoring has been weighing on Gourde.

"Honestly, I try to work hard every night," Gourde said. "I try to create turnovers. I try to create chances for my linemates and for myself too. Like I said, when the goals aren't going in, the confidence goes lower and it's harder on yourself. You try to keep your focus on the prizes of playing hard and playing the right way."

Hedman was proud that the team once again bounced back after losing.

“It says a lot," Hedman said. "We want to be a team that can bounce back after losses. For us to do that, it means that 11-1 is a pretty good record. Obviously proud of the guys here that we were able to re-focus right away and bounce back for the win.”

The Lightning has 10 days off before playing against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, January 30 at PPG Paints Arena.

Callahan gets tangled up with Meier./CHUCK MULLER




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